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Santa Cruz Starbucks stores are first in California to unionize

Santa Cruz Sentinel

SANTA CRUZ — Two Starbucks stores in Santa Cruz have voted to unionize, the first in California.

Media reports show that by a vote of 15-2 the Starbucks store at Mission and Dufour streets voted to unionize. A second Starbucks located on Ocean and Water streets voted 13-1 to unionize.

Before the vote, Joseph Thompson, a local union leader and state Assembly candidate, wrote on social media, “We will win in spite of your union-busting, in spite of your wrongful firings, in spite of the odds stacked against us because we, the partners, are united.”

Starbucks stores in Santa Cruz have filed lawsuits through the National Labor Relations Board against Starbucks corporate.

Both suits allege unfair labor practices performed by upper management at Starbucks locations both in Santa Cruz and across the country. Allegations range from surveillance and intimidation to hours cut in retaliation to union efforts.

The wins, tallied Tuesday, have added to the momentum of a union campaign that went public in late August and reversed decades of failed attempts to form unions at Starbucks. They come as workers at well over 200 Starbucks stores have filed petitions for union elections and more than 50 stores have voted to join the national union Workers United since December.

The Los Angeles Times contributed to this report.

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