Since workers at two Starbucks (SBUX -0.16%) stores in Buffalo, New York, voted to unionize late last year, the labor movement has taken on growing momentum in the coffee chain, spreading to a reported 60 locations in 14 states. In this episode of "3 Minute Stocks Updates" on Motley Fool Live, recorded on Feb. 2, host Brian Feroldi and Fool.com contributor Toby Bordelon discuss what the move to unionize might mean for investors.
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Brian Feroldi: I've also been following the Buffalo news and the unionization news. It seems to be just a handful of employees at a few stores. Given Starbucks' size, is this something investors should care about and be worried about?
Toby Bordelon: I think you want to care a little bit. I think it's not because of the union itself. Let's be clear on that. I think unions can be good, they can be fine if you have a good relationship for the company. They can work well. More for me is what would the unionization drive say about current employee management relations? We have a company that historically has not been unionized. Now, all of a sudden, employees are feeling the need to unionize. I think that's a statement. That's a strong statement employees, at least some, are making. They feel like unionization is their best option. Maybe their only option. That tells me that employees think their relationship with management may have deteriorated to the point that now a union is necessary because without it, our concerns are not going to be addressed, management's not going to listen to us. They think this is the best path to improving those conditions. That's the issue for me. That it tells us that maybe that relationship is not where it needs to be. I think that's what you want to watch. That could be a concern long term.