2nd Blank Street Coffee unionization petitions

A second Blank Street Coffee location has applied to unionize, according to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Documents provided to the NLRB show that a Blank Street in the Chelsea/West Village neighborhood filed union filings on Tuesday. This is the second time in as many months that a Blank Street location has applied to unionise.

Blank Street did not respond to a request for comment.

The chain has grown into a massive presence in New York City with 45 locations across the city, according to the company’s app. The brand has expanded to Boston, Washington, DC and London, with more locations planned.

The brand has focused on catering to millennials and young people and has become a hub for TikTok and Instagram influencers.

Blank Street is trying to follow the same model Starbucks a generation before it: automating the employee experience to deliver a consistent — albeit mediocre — cup of coffee, wherever it’s ordered.

“Starbucks pioneered the concept of ‘third place’ and benefited massively from it, but is now struggling with the massive increase in pickup orders.” said Michael Miraflor, a marketing specialist. “Blank Street Coffee’s model forgoes 3rd place in favor of brute efficiency. Disruptive innovation on the move.”

But now the workers seem to be interfering with Blank Street’s own plans.

The Blank Street union’s first petition was filed last month, after a summer in which the brand received heavy press. The chain started with moving coffee carts but raised $67 million in venture capital and switched to stationary locations.

The union vote for Brooklyn’s first union store, Blank Street, is scheduled for February. The NLRB said in a poll notice sent out last week that six Brooklyn stores were eligible to vote.

Blank Street hired Jackson Lewis, a notoriously anti-union law firm, to represent the company during the union movement.


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*Initial publication: December 14, 2022 2:59 p.m. CST

Jacob Seitz

Jacob Seitz is a freelance journalist originally from Columbus, Ohio, interested in the intersection of culture and politics.

Jacob Seitz

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