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Albuquerque Starbucks votes to unionize, 1st store in state

ALBUQUERQUE – New Mexico is poised to have its first unionized Starbucks store, organizers say.

A majority of rank-and-file workers at an Albuquerque location of the Seattle coffee giant voted in favor of unionizing Thursday, said Starbucks Workers United, the group seeking to organize U.S. Starbucks stores. The vote was 10-7 for a union.

The National Labor Relations Board conducted the election at the store on Interstate 40 and Rio Grande Boulevard.

This makes New Mexico the 34th state to have a unionized Starbucks, according to organizers. Starbucks opposes the unionization effort.

Workers at the Albuquerque location formally filed a petition to hold a union vote in July. A second store in Santa Fe is also looking to unionize.

A representative for Starbucks did not immediately respond to a request Thursday seeking comment.

In a news release, the union called it a victory for better wages and working conditions. They also accuse Starbucks management of interfering with workers’ right to organize, using union-busting tactics like firing staff members and closing stores. The union claims Starbucks has fired more than 100 union leaders from its stores this year.

More than 230 Starbucks branches nationwide have elected to unionize since late last year. Unionization efforts are also gaining steam at Amazon, Trader Joe’s and elsewhere.

The Starbucks unionization effort began late last year at a Starbucks store in Buffalo, New York. As of this week, that store and two others – one in New York and one in Arizona – are the only ones currently negotiating contracts.

Starbucks reported record demand in the April-June period as strong U.S. sales made up for continuing closures in China, the company’s second-largest market.