Hold onto your gift cards, as the chain-store unionization movement in SF just got a shot from the Starbucks at 18th and Castro Streets, which voted to unionize in results confirmed Tuesday afternoon.
We learned to live without the Castro Starbucks, nicknamed “Bearbucks,” when it closed between last Christmas and this past April over plumbing issues. But you may want to save your Starbucks gift cards to use at that particular Starbucks at 4094 18th Street (at Castro Street), because something big has been brewing there. Just three months after two Starbucks locations in Santa Cruz became the first unionized Starbucks shops in California, SFGate reports that the Castro Starbucks has also voted to unionize.
If certified, it will be the first unionized Starbucks in San Francisco.
"We're very proud of the results today," James Kreiss, an employee at the Castro Starbucks. "We hope this win encourages our San Francisco sister stores to seek a union too. Staff and customers have gone through the ringer this past year with inconsistent staffing and store availability — we appreciate the support our community has shown us and the continued support as we begin the long process of negotiations with Starbucks."
The vote was reportedly 7-2 in favor of unionizing, with 15 eligible voters, only nine of whom cast ballots, per SFGate.
The Castro District’s supervisor, Rafael Mandelman, said in a statement on Twitter, "Many congratulations to the Castro Starbucks employees on their historic vote to become San Francisco's first unionized Starbucks store. In an era of growing income inequality, successful efforts to organize low-wage private sector workers remind us that there is still power in a union and San Francisco is still a union town."
Many congratulations to the Castro Starbucks employees. In an era of growing income inequality, successful efforts to organize low wage private sector workers remind us that there is still power in a union and San Francisco is still a union town. Harvey would be proud. https://t.co/fWJVZxKMHG— Rafael Mandelman (@RafaelMandelman) August 16, 2022
Starbucks has five days to challenge the vote, and if they do not, the result is automatically certified by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
Supervisor Dean Preston, who authored a Board of Supervisors resolution in support of the effort, was obviously pleased. “It takes tremendous courage and determination to form a union, especially in a climate where too often big corporations engage in blatant union busting activity,” Preston told SFGate. “I’m proud of Starbucks employees here and across the country who are unionizing their workplaces.”
While the company has not commented on this outcome, Starbucks is obviously steamed over these unionization efforts. The chain is asking for a halt to mail-in balloting in these votes, alleging improper conduct by the NLRB. (It's unclear if mail ballots were used in this election.) Oh, and those Santa Cruz Starbucks that unionized in May? Employees at one of them have already gone on strike.
Image: Don O. via Yelp