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Downtown Sacramento Starbucks becomes 300th location to unionize

Starbucks' CEO defends union stance before Senate
Starbucks' CEO defends union stance before Senate 03:44

SACRAMENTO – A Downtown Sacramento Starbucks location has become the latest store in the coffee chain where workers have voted the unionize.

Starbucks Workers United announced on Monday that the store at 7th and K streets had voted to unionize and won union representation in an 11-2 vote.

"I am overjoyed that despite Starbucks using every dirty trick to deter us, we were able to become true partners in the company," said Maizie Jensen, a barista at the Sacramento store, in a statement.

Organized labor efforts at Starbucks stores started back in late 2021 and sparked a wave of unionization.

"For the 3% of our U.S. stores that have elected representation, we are committed to engaging in good faith collective bargaining wherever a union has been appropriately certified. Over the last year we have proposed more than 350 bargaining sessions to Workers United and they have responded to 24% of those sessions to date but we're hopeful that a recent complete session in Seattle is a promising bargaining development," said Rachel Wall, spokesperson for Starbucks, in a statement in response to the Sacramento store's vote. 

Wall also highlighted how, last week, a Midtown Sacramento Starbucks location near 19th and J streets voted to reject a union. 

However, with the Downtown Sacramento location, there are now 300 Starbucks stores across the country that have voted to unionize.

Starbucks' previous CEO Howard Schultz had been criticized for his efforts to against unionization. Notably, the National Labor Review Board found Starbucks allegedly threatened and fired workers tied to union efforts.

Schultz told CNN in an interview earlier in 2023 that he was shocked to hear about the apparent loss of trust employees had in the company. 

"It's my belief that the efforts of unionization in America are in many ways a manifestation of a much bigger problem," Schultz said. "There is a macro issue here that is much, much bigger than Starbucks."

Labor organizers say the NLRB has issued more than 80 official complaints against Starbucks.

Schultz has also said that the company "unequivocally has not broken the law" when he was pressed by US lawmakers about the alleged union-busting efforts. 

Back in March, new CEO Laxman Narasimhan outlined a plan that also saw him promise to work at Starbucks stores as a barista at least once a month. 

The Downtown Sacramento store is the first Starbucks in the greater Sacramento area to successfully vote to unionize. Other stores, including the one at 19th and J in Sacramento and a location in El Dorado Hills, have rejected unionizing.

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