Long Beach Starbucks among first to unionize in SoCal

The Starbucks on 7th street and Redondo unanimously voted to unionize.
LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Employees at the 7th Street and Redondo Avenue Starbucks location in Long Beach were among workers across more than 240 Starbucks locations in the country who've filed to vote on whether to unionize.

On Friday, their wish became a reality.

The Long Beach 7th Street and Redondo Avenue location got 13 "yes" votes with zero opposing.

A second Starbucks in Lakewood on Candlewood Street got 24 "yes" votes and 1 "no" vote.

"Because we had 13, I knew we only needed seven to win and they said seven 'yes' and we're celebrating, hugging. I'm about to cry," said Elizabeth Ruiz, a Starbucks barista in Long Beach.

On Friday, workers, including, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor came together to observe the vote counts at the Workers United union office in Los Angeles.

Workers United helped the employees at 7th and Redondo to organize.

"When workers reach out to us, we give them the resources. We explain to them what the process is and from there we call it the magic because it's really them organizing themselves," said Fernando Hernandez, lead organizer at Workers United for western states.

Union activists allege they have had their hours cut, been fired and more.

We reached out to Starbucks for a comment, they referred us to the National Labor Relations Board website.

People passing by the Long Beach location say they're happy for the Starbucks workers.

"I think raises, benefits, I think they deserve as much as they can get," said Aaron Taylor, a Long Beach resident.

The next step will be negotiations. The union says the vote was not just a victory, but a statement.

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