The first California Starbucks shops to unionize are both in Santa Cruz, after two separate Starbucks locations’ employees voted overwhelmingly to unionize on Wednesday.
You may have heard of some recent, nascent, and seemingly longshot efforts by Amazon employees to unionize, and a handful of these efforts have actually been successful. Others have been unsuccessful, and even the successful efforts have seen the union organizer employees suddenly get canned. But today’s New York Times has a piece on employees at the coffee chain Starbucks having more success at unionizing, as “workers at more than 250 [Starbucks] stores have filed for elections and the union has prevailed at a vast majority of the locations that have voted.”
Now add a double-shot of successful Starbucks unionization right here in NorCal. The Chronicle reports that workers at two separate Santa Cruz Starbucks locations voted to unionize Wednesday, and both were lopsided votes in favor of the union. Employees at the Starbucks at 1901 Mission Street voted 15-2 to unionize, and shortly after in a separate vote, workers at the 745 Ocean Street store ratified their union effort in a 13-1 vote.
“It’s empowering to know that we can fight a multibillion-dollar corporation and win,” Ocean Street employee Kayla Cabral told the Chronicle. “From here on out, I think we’re going to see a lot more union Starbucks.”
One recurring theme in these multiplying Starbucks union efforts is that workers are citing a lack of security. According to KSBW, employees complain that “the Santa Cruz store isn’t doing enough to protect its employees, claiming the location can be dangerous and experiences high rates of harassment and other hazardous situations.”
For their part, Starbucks put out a statement saying, “We are listening and learning from the partners in these stores as we always do across the country,” and,“We respect our partner’s [sic] right to organize and are committed to following the [National Labor Relations Board] process.”
KQED points out that “more than 20 Starbucks stores in California have started the process to unionize,” and another Starbucks in Santa Cruz will hold their vote in June. But the Northern California Starbucks efforts to unionize have already successfully crossed the finish line, and the college town of Santa Cruz was the first to slug it out.
Image: Adam C. via Yelp