Starbucks Union Momentum Grows With Groundbreaking First Wins in California

Employees at two Starbucks locations in Santa Cruz, California won union elections on Wednesday, scoring the rapidly spreading movement’s first victories in the nation’s most populous state even as management intensifies its efforts to stamp out worker organizing.

These are some of the groundbreaking achievements, many of the Starbucks union’s wins thus far, were nearly unanimous. The Ocean and Water location in Santa Cruz voted 13-1 in favor of joining Workers United — the national union representing Starbucks workers — and the Mission and Dufour shop voted 15-2 in support of unionization.

“Let the floodgates open in California,” Casey Moore, a spokesperson and organizer with Workers United, saidDuring a news conference.

Rep. Ro Khanna, a Democratic-Calif., congratulated Starbucks workers via Twitter post, calling the union votes “a major victory.”

“Unions are the counterweight to corporate power,” Khanna wrote. “It’s time for Starbucks to pay fair wages and treat every worker with dignity and respect.”

California’s union wins show that organizing momentum is still growing despite aggressive management pushback. More than 60 Starbucks locations across the country have voted to unionize after the first union wins in December. Hundreds more have also filed representation petitions with National Labor Relations Board.

Starbucks recently fired employees closely involved in unionization efforts in an attempt to reduce the organization wave. slashed hoursat various locations across the nation, and threatened to deny new wages and benefits to employees who have voted in unionization or are in the process.

The company’s union-busting has drawn pushback from the NLRB. The labor board rejected the company’s union-busting tactics last week. filedA massive complaint was filed against Starbucks alleging unlawful intimidation and other offenses in Buffalo.

On Tuesday, the NLRB asked a Tennessee federal court for an order to Starbucks to reinstate seven Memphis workers who were fired while they tried to unionize. The board also said the corporation must “cease its unlawful conduct immediately so that all Starbucks workers can fully and freely exercise their labor rights.”

Starbucks is now facing more than 50Formal complaints to the NLRB

In analysis of NLRB data, Matt Bruenig of the People’s Policy Project projected Wednesday that the Starbucks union is “likely to have 6,384 workers at 228 locations in the next few months” if the current rate of organizing victories continues.

Bruenig pointed out that the union won 90% of the elections at Starbucks stores thus far, and consistently received 70-80% of votes.

“If these same numbers hold for the 193 open cases where an election has not yet been administered,” Bruenig wrote, “then the Starbucks union will soon win an additional 174 elections and thereby add an additional 4,870 workers to their rolls.”