Mar 23, 2022 - Economy

Workers at Starbucks store in Seattle vote to unionize

Starbucks' then-CEO Howard Schultz speaks during Starbucks annual shareholders meeting March 18, 2015 in Seattle, Washington.

Howard Schultz will return to Starbucks in April, as an interim CEO. Photo: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Starbucks baristas at a store in Seattle voted unanimously on Tuesday to unionize, per the National Labor Relations Board.

Why it matters: The vote in the city where Starbucks originated is particularly significant as Howard Schultz prepares to return, as an interim CEO, to the company he helped make a global coffee giant, per the Seattle Times, which notes workers at over 100 stores are seeking to unionize.

The big picture: The vote by workers at the store in the Capitol Hill area of Seattle marks the first such move in the company's hometown and the seventh time workers have voted in favor of unionizing with the Service Employees International Union affiliate Workers United, the New York Times reports.

Flashback: Employees of a Starbucks near the Ohio Statehouse announced on Monday their intention to unionize.

What they're saying: Workers at Starbucks Capitol Hill said in a letter last December unionizing was a "fundamental and necessary way to participate in Starbucks and its future as partners."

  • A spokesperson for Starbucks said in a statement Tuesday the company "will respect the process and will bargain in good faith. … We hope that the union does the same," per the Seattle Times, which notes the firm had opposed unionization.

What's next: Shultz will return when Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson retires in April, after five years in the position.

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