Santa Cruz Starbucks joins union wave


SANTA CRUZ – Starbucks on the corner of Ocean and Water streets in Santa Cruz is one of the latest stores to join the unionization effort.

Union organizers in Santa Cruz announced on Friday their intention to unionize to Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson. The move makes the store the first in California to join the nationwide effort.

The Ocean Street store is just one of 19 locations in Santa Cruz County and nearly 2,500 Starbucks coffee shops in California.

“Another historic day,” SB Workers United tweeted Friday. “Starbucks partners in Santa Cruz are the FIRST store in California to join the growing movement of Starbucks baristas filing for union elections.”

A wave of unionization efforts amongst Starbucks employees has swept the nation since the first store in the U.S. formed a union in Buffalo, N.Y. in December. Now, the Buffalo-based union is helping other stores fight for their rights.

Workers in Buffalo are not the first to be recognized by a union. That title goes to six stores in Seattle — Starbucks’ hometown — which are represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers union, the Associated Press reported. The Buffalo store is the first to form its own union.

Workers in Santa Cruz state they joined the effort because they feel they have been undervalued by the company and see unionization as an avenue to equality amongst workers and the company.

“We are forming a union to advocate and voice our experiences as partners,” the letter reads. “We see union representation as the best way to make Starbucks a place to have a sustainable career and an equitable partnership. As long as Starbucks continues placing profits over partners, partners have a moral obligation to organize.”

However, that goal will not come easily. Starbucks has been known to utilize aggressive union busting tactics in the past. Those tactics have included singling out employees in private meetings with management and anti-union text messages sent to employees, according to tweets and screenshots from the union.

“We are calling on Starbucks to end their anti-union campaign,” the union tweeted during the announcement of the Santa Cruz union. “No union busting at Starbucks.”

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