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Starbucks store votes to unionize in Las Vegas

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File

FILE - Michelle Eisen, a barista at the Buffalo, N.Y., Elmwood Starbucks location, helps out the local Starbucks Workers United, employees of a local Starbucks, as they gather at a local union hall to cast votes to unionize or not, on Feb. 16, 2022, in Mesa, Ariz.

UPDATE: According to Starbucks Workers United, a Las Vegas corporate-owned Starbucks store is the first in the city to unionize.

The workers voted 11-7 in favor of unionizing.

ORIGINAL REPORT: Employees of a Starbucks store in Las Vegas have filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to unionize with Starbucks Workers United, the union announced on Tuesday. 

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The store, located at Rainbow and Oakey boulevards, would be the first corporate, or company-owned, store in Nevada to unionize.

Many licensed stores in Las Vegas are currently unionized with Culinary Workers Union Local 226, encompassing more than 500 workers on the Strip, in downtown Las Vegas and at Harry Reid International Airport, according to Bethany Khan, the union's spokesperson. 

In a letter posted to Twitter on Tuesday, employees of the store, known within the company as partners, wrote Starbucks President and CEO Howard Schultz with their intent to unionize. 

"That's why we ... are forming a union - in order to better build this partnership with the company to uphold its mission and values and to hold onto the Third Place," they wrote. "We have decided to unionize due to the fact we have not been treated as partners, but, instead, employees with no respect or true voice in the workplace." 

In the letter, they claim they are being silenced rather than supported, and that Starbucks had failed to create a safe work environment. 

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The union said dozens of union leaders have been fired by Starbucks nationwide, including six in the Southwest region. Hundreds of corporate Starbucks stores have successfully unionized nationwide.

Kristen DeSilva (she/her) is the audience engagement specialist for Nevada Public Radio. She curates and creates content for, our weekly newsletter and social media for Nevada Public Radio and Desert Companion.