Starbucks in Capitol Hill becomes first Seattle store to vote to unionize

A Starbucks store in Capitol Hill on Tuesday voted unanimously to unionize, becoming the first Seattle store do so.

The cafe is located at Broadway and Denny near the Capitol Hill Link Light Rail station. 

The store in the Capitol Hill neighborhood will become the seventh in the country where employees have voted in favor of unionizing with Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. At least 140 more stores in 27 states have filed petitions for union elections.

"We are so excited to win our union unanimously and for what this means for the national movement. Our victory is going to make other Starbucks partners confident and show that we can organize Starbucks," said Sydney Durkin, a shift supervisor. "This is what happens when workers stand together and fight together."

When asked for comment, Starbucks referred FOX 13 News to a letter on the company's path forward after another union vote.

There have been two rounds of union votes involving Starbucks stores in Buffalo, N.Y. where the spreading efforts to unionize first took hold. Two stores voted in favor of unionizing in December.

A suburban Phoenix location last month became the first store outside New York to organize.

They are the first Starbucks-owned stores in the U.S. to be represented by a union since the 1980s when the United Food and Commercial Workers union represented workers at six stores in the Seattle area for several years.

Just last week, Starbucks President and CEO Kevin Johnson said he would retire in April, and former CEO and company founder Howard Schultz will replace him on an interim basis. 


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Employees who favor unionizing say they want more input, through collective bargaining, on pay, working conditions and store operations.

"It’s not slowing down. Every time we have a win ... that’s continuing to build that momentum and that excitement and that strength," organizer Michelle Eisen said.

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.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.