New Orleans Starbucks store 1st in Louisiana to vote union

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NEW ORLEANS — Employees at a Starbucks store in New Orleans voted to form a union, becoming the first of the coffee giant’s locations in Louisiana to unionize.

Ballots were voted for Workers United on Friday and Saturday 11-1, WWNO-FM reported. According to the station, two ballots were invalidated.

The New Orleans vote is the latest in an ongoing series of victories for labor at Starbucks stores across America. It comes just a week after workers from Birmingham, Alabama voted 27-to-1 in order to be the state’s first unionized Starbucks.

Barista Caitlyn Pierce and others wanted to unionize due to regular shifts that saw them overworked and understaffed.

” I feel amazing,” Pierce stated. “This is something we worked so hard for and it’s just great to finally get here.”

Starbucks has fought unionization efforts, saying its 9,000 company-owned U.S. stores function best when Starbucks works directly with employees, which the company calls “partners.”

In a statement Sunday, Starbucks said it was “listening and learning,” and added, “We respect our partner’s right to organize.” The statement didn’t say whether the company would challenge the vote.

Billie Nyx was fired in May for organizing the union campaign and closing the store before it had been closed. Nyx is challenging the dismissal, claiming it was in retaliation to union advocacy.

Nyx stated that they will meet with their lawyer to gather the remaining employees at the store to discuss specific demands for contract negotiations.

Unionized stores must still meet with Starbucks to negotiate a contract in order to win the changes they want, such as better pay and more reliable scheduling. It can take many years and is a tedious process.

A Starbucks in Buffalo, New York was the first to unionize in the United States late last year. Based in Seattle, the company has more than 34,000 stores worldwide.

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