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'Power to the people': Workers at Starbucks on West 6th Street in Cleveland vote to unionize

Employees at the Downtown location unanimously elected to join the nationwide Starbucks Workers United.

CLEVELAND — As the union push continues across Starbucks' thousands of locations, you can now add Cleveland to the list.

Employees at the Downtown spot on West 6th Street voted this week to unionize and officially join Starbucks Workers United. The final tally was 10-0, and the coffee shop now joins another location in Columbus as the first unionized Starbucks stores in the state of Ohio.

Starbucks Workers United fully launched last December when a location in Buffalo, New York, voted to become the company's first union store in the U.S. Roughly 30 other locations nationwide have followed suit, despite the efforts of Starbucks management to limit the efforts.

"These hourly-wage workers endured unrelenting attacks from high-priced union busters as they joined together to form a collective voice in their workplace," North Shore AFL-CIO Executive Secretary Dan O'Malley claimed in a Tuesday statement regarding the West 6th drive. "No matter what adversity came their way, these Starbucks employees stood strong, and they won."

In response to the unionization, Starbucks has brought back founder Howard Schultz as CEO, and he has since extended various benefits to non-union workers. The company says this cannot be done for organized employees without approval from the union, but Starbucks Workers United has called it an effort to break up the growing movement.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown released the following statement after the votes in both Cleveland and Columbus:

"Today was a landmark victory for Ohio workers. We are witnessing the next generation of the labor movement in action. These Ohioans are doing what workers in our state have done for generations, and now they will have a voice on the job. This is the new frontier of union organizing, and their success will inspire young workers around our state, helping turn more service sector jobs into good jobs."

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