Long Beach Starbucks workers vote to unionize

More Starbucks workers want to unionize and they're getting support from a local mayor.

At this Starbucks in Long Beach, workers are asking people when they order to order with the hashtag #UnionStrong because a lot of workers want representation at the workplace, and that's why this location and several others are voting to unionize. 

Starting Monday, ballots are going out to employees, and the mayor of Long Beach has emphasized his support by tweeting out Sunday his support for these workers to unionize. 

They're voting to join Workers United.

A lot of the workers here say they're overworked, understaffed, and underpaid, adding that they're not getting the benefits they deserve.

They have been open during the pandemic, supporting the local community, so they say they definitely need more in terms of what they're getting from the company and a bigger voice.

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One employee who has been here for four years spoke to FOX 11, saying "collective bargaining and unionization gives you strength, and numbers are strengthened."

"Coming towards management as a person is really intimidating, and knowing you have the strength of your union representation and your union in general behind you. I feel like so many more people will just feel more safe, more protected, more listened to."

Starbucks says they are in relations with the employees in terms of having a good relationship and without the middle man, so they really want to have that direct relationship, they say, with their partners, which they call the employees.

Over the course of the next week, ballots will be sent back and all the votes will be counted on May 13.

Last month, Starbucks workers at two stores in Anaheim are joining fellow employees across the country in organizing a union. 

"We are unionizing to take an active role in our partnership. We should not be a corporate resource to produce profit while they cut our hours to reduce their spending," said Sean Lally, a worker at the Downtown Disney store. "We challenge Starbucks to live up to its values and be the company it promises to be."

Union membership levels are rising for U.S. workers between 25 and 34 years old, even as they decline among other age groups, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Starbucks in Mesa, Arizona was the first to unionize outside of Buffalo, New York, where organizing efforts first took off.

Over 65 stores in 20 states have filed petitions with the labor board to hold union elections since two in Buffalo unionized in the last few months, according to labor union Workers United.

Starbucks officials have spoken against unionizing, asserting the company functions best when it can work directly with its employees. Some workers have disputed that claim.

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