Two Starbucks stores in California unionize in Santa Cruz

Workers at two Starbucks stores in Santa Cruz have merged, becoming the first stores in California to join the coffee giant’s ranks of organized baristas and shift supervisors.

Workers at both stores in Santa Cruz voted overwhelmingly in favor of joining the national union, known as Union Workers. Thirteen workers at the store near the intersection of Ocean and Water streets voted in favor of the union, one against. At the Starbucks location on Mission and Dufour streets, 15 people voted and two opposed.

For profile:

8:50 a.m. May 12, 2022An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the National Labor Relations Board examined union votes on Tuesday and union organizers held a press conference. video on Thursday. Both events occurred on Wednesday.

The victories, as of Wednesday, have given impetus to a union campaign that went public in late August and reversed decades of failed attempts to unionize at Starbucks. They come as workers at more than 200 Starbucks stores have filed petitions for union elections. Workers at 63 Starbucks stores voted to join the Workers’ Union, according to a representative from the Workers’ Union.

“Leave the floodgates open in California,” said Casey Moore, spokesperson and organizer for Company USA, in a video news conference Wednesday.

The Ocean and Water location filed the initial union lawsuit on January 21. Mission and Dufour stores were taken up shortly after, involving workers. announced their union campaign later that month.

Emily Wheeler, shift supervisor at the Mission and Dufour locations, said she and others at the store passively discussed joining the union, but announced the campaign at the Ocean and Dufour locations. Water is the “last push” they need.

According to Joseph Thompson, shift supervisor at Ocean and Water Starbucks, employees at both locations are students or young workers who have spearheaded organizational efforts at his store and across the state. state.

“Young people are leading the fight to unify their workplace because our future is predicated on building the strength of the working class,” Thompson said in a statement. dad via email.

Santa Cruz workers said they were motivated to join the union for a variety of reasons. They cite incidents of harassment, indecent exposure and threats of violence – particularly at the Ocean and Water location – and what they describe as little or no support from management or directors operating company. They expressed a desire for higher wages because Santa Cruz has a high cost of living and a stronger staff, or additional compensation for working during a staff shortage.

Kayla Cabral, a bartender at Ocean and Water, said that through the union, employees hope to be able to negotiate higher wages so they can “be able to live in this city and not have to work so hard to make ends meet.” drive around the city”.

During the video press conference, Thompson called their Starbucks location “one of the worst stores to work in across California.”

Starbucks spokeswoman Sarah Albanesi said she did not previously have enough information to answer specific issues at the store and said the company was “listening and learning”.

Starbucks did not respond to a request for comment.

Starbucks has repeatedly said it opposes unions, telling employees that the company wants to address their needs directly.

Workers have accused the company of unlawful conduct in response to union campaigns. The National Labor Relations Board finds credit in some of these allegations, such as the allegation that the company fired employees in retaliation for supporting unions, and issued new and stricter requirements. for workers to continue to work at a union store without bargaining with the store to negotiate and engage in worker supervision.

United workers filed a complaint with the NLRB in March alleging that Starbucks engaged in unlawful conduct at both locations in Santa Cruz. The company increased the presence of senior managers in stores soon after workers announced their intention to form a union and threatened that they would lose benefits if unions, such as the ability to worked at different Starbucks locations, the union alleges.

Thompson, who recently launched a campaign to represent California’s 28th Assembly District, said at the press conference that workers are planning to organize a statewide committee to help lead the bargaining efforts between different stores in California. The goal, says Thompson, is to jointly negotiate on broad issues like wages and job security while maintaining separate bargaining units that focus on demand at specific locations – for example. as security guards for stores with high rates of harassment or violence.

Ballots from union elections at two other California stores, both in Los Angeles County, are expected to count on Friday. Two Starbucks stores in California unionize in Santa Cruz

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