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Starbucks workers at Long Beach stores to hold unionization vote

Starbucks workers at Long Beach stores to hold unionization vote 02:12

Employees at two Starbucks stores in Long Beach will begin voting this week on whether to unionize.

The two stores -- one located in the 3390 E. 7th St. in Long Beach, and the second at 4833 Candlewood St. -- would be the first Starbucks stores in Southern California to unionize under Starbucks Workers United.

Employees will begin voting Monday. The votes will be tallied by May 13.

"We get a wave of COVID in the store and we have to close," one employee told CBSLA Monday. "Sometimes we're wondering what does that mean for my rent? What does that mean for my bills?"

She added that when her store closed during the pandemic, she was forced to get a second job.

"I got a second job, and luckily that ended up taking care of me, I supplemented my hours over there, and that was good. But I know for a lot of people, it's difficult." 

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia dropped by the Long Beach store to lend his support Sunday, buying a cup of coffee under the name "Union Strong."

"Really proud that our Long Beach Starbucks at Redondo and 7th is about to become the first Starbucks in Southern California with a union," Garcia tweeted. "Stopped by today to support the workers as they organize. Congrats and thank you."

According to Starbucks Workers United, more than two-dozen Starbucks stores have already unionized nationwide, while at least 200 have filed paperwork to begin the process.

"We plan to move forward constructively with all Starbucks partners," Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz wrote in a blog post April 10. "However, we must not be distracted by the different vision being put forward by union organizers at some Starbucks stores. And while not all the partners supporting unionization are colluding with outside union forces, the critical point is that I do not believe conflict, division and dissension - which has been a focus of union organizing - benefits Starbucks or our partners."

On Friday, the National Labor Relations Board announced it had filed an injunction against Starbucks, claiming that the company had retaliated against three workers involved in the unionization effort. The injunction alleges that Starbucks fired two of the employees and placed the third on unpaid leave. 

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