Starbucks workers in Seal Beach vote to unionize

Workers at a Starbucks in Seal Beach have voted to unionize, joining the more than 400 stores from the massive coffeeshop chain to organize.

Workers at the store, located at the Old Ranch Town Center on Seal Beach Boulevard and St. Cloud Drive, voted 9-3 to join Starbucks Workers United. With the vote, it became the 32nd Starbucks in California to unionize.

“Winning this election is a huge confidence booster because for so long our issues and needs have been left unmet, but now we are making people hear us,” said Anaiah Hufstetler, a barista of two years at the Starbucks. “Joining the 400 unionized stores is a big accomplishment because together we can use our voices to get Starbucks to accurately represent the partner experience.”

Protestors among a coalition of unions and Starbucks workers rally outside a midtown Manhattan Starbucks coffee store, calling for a "fair schedules and wages," Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
Protestors among a coalition of unions and Starbucks workers rally outside a midtown Manhattan Starbucks coffee store, calling for a "fair schedules and wages," Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

The recent unionization comes as the coffee giant has shifted its stance toward labor organization. In February, Starbucks and worker’s united agreed to start discussions toward finding a framework for a potential collective bargaining agreement.

Starbucks workers first began to seek labor organization in 2021, when a store in Buffalo, N.Y. voted to unionize. Since then, the corporate offices and organizers have been at odds with countless of court cases filed, though the two appear to have a smoother relationship now.

“On February 27, the company and Workers United agreed to begin discussions on a foundational framework designed to help achieve ratified bargaining agreements, resolve certain litigation and address other issues. We are eager to reach ratified agreements in 2024 for stores that have already voted for union representation,” Starbucks said in a statement to KTLA. “We respect the rights of our partners to organize and bargain collectively, and we are eager to reach ratified agreements in 2024 for represented stores.”

Dartmouth men’s basketball team votes to unionize, a first in college sports

The union said Thursday that it’s seeking fair pay and hours and safe working conditions as more stores begin to organize.

“We’ve worked for so long to join this effort, and I’m excited to be a part of progressing our organization forward,” said Damian Velazquez, a shift supervisor.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to KTLA.