Castro Starbucks first in San Francisco to vote to unionize

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On Tuesday afternoon, as the National Labor Relations Board counted the votes, workers at the Castro Starbucks (4098 18th St.) voted 7-2 to form a union (15 eligible voters; 9 votes cast). The Castro store joins hundreds of other Starbucks unions in locations across the country who have taken similar steps this year.

“We are very proud of today’s results,” said James Kreiss, an employee at the Castro site. “We hope this win encourages our sister stores in San Francisco to also seek a union. Staff and customers have been ringing the bell over the past year with inconsistent staffing and store availability – we appreciate the support our community has shown us and the continued support as we begin the lengthy negotiation process with Starbucks.”

The Castro Starbucks, affectionately known as Bearbucks, was closed for about four months, from mid-December to April 18. A Starbucks spokesperson categorized Hoodline’s closure as a “facility issue” and declined to comment further. Multiple employees at the Castro location tell SFGATE that the store had been dealing with a plumbing problem for years — specifically a rotten sewer smell — which they believe caused its closure and repairs. (Starbucks did not respond to a request for comment.)

Public records confirm a 2019 complaint of a “sewer odor,” although no more recent complaints have been recorded. Permits show that several sinks were replaced earlier in 2022 and that a “final sanitary inspection” took place on March 1.

Workers at the Castro site have been discussing the possibility of joining a union since the formation of the first Starbucks union in Buffalo in early December 2021, but those discussions were not taken seriously until early May 2022, when their store was fully open again. . said Kreis. During the four-month shutdown, Castro employees had their hours cut, sometimes dramatically, as they searched for other Bay Area locations where they could take temporary shifts. That, several workers said, is one of the many reasons why they wanted to vote to join a union.

Starbucks has five days to challenge the vote. Otherwise, results are certified within a week, according to the NLRB.

San Francisco Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, who represents de Castro, offered the following statement to SFGATE: “Congratulations to the Castro Starbucks employees on their historic vote to become the first unionized Starbucks store in San Francisco. In a In an era of growing income inequality, successful efforts to organize low-wage private sector workers remind us that there is still power in a union and that San Francisco is still a union city.”

Supervisor Dean Preston, who recently wrote a resolution supporting workers’ right to organize, also sent a statement to SFGATE:

“It takes tremendous courage and determination to form a union, especially in a climate where too often large corporations engage in blatant union-breaking activities. I am proud of Starbucks employees here and across the country uniting their workplaces.”

The Bay Area may soon add another Starbucks union location: workers at the Starbucks at 2224 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley are expected to have their ballots counted by the NLRB next Monday, August 22.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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