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Birmingham home to the first unionized Starbucks in Alabama, maybe

FILE - Michelle Eisen, a barista at the Buffalo, NY, Elmwood Starbucks location, the first Starbuck location to unionize, 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, Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022, in Mesa, Ariz. It’s become a common sight: jubilant Starbucks workers celebrating after successful votes to unionize at dozens of U.S. stores. But when the celebrations die down, a daunting hurdle remains. To win the changes they seek, like better pay and more reliable schedules, unionized stores must sit down with Starbucks and negotiate a contract. It’s a painstaking process that can take years. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
Ross D. Franklin/AP
/
AP
FILE - Michelle Eisen, a barista at the Buffalo, NY, Elmwood Starbucks location, the first Starbuck location to unionize, 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, Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022, in Mesa, Ariz. It’s become a common sight: jubilant Starbucks workers celebrating after successful votes to unionize at dozens of U.S. stores. But when the celebrations die down, a daunting hurdle remains. To win the changes they seek, like better pay and more reliable schedules, unionized stores must sit down with Starbucks and negotiate a contract. It’s a painstaking process that can take years. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

Starbucks has until later this week to file objections after workers at a shop in Birmingham became the first of the company's outlets in Alabama to vote to organize. Baristas and other employees at a downtown store reportedly voted 27-1 to organize in a tally announced last Thursday. They would be represented by Workers United if federal labor officials certify the vote. Company officials didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment on whether Starbucks would challenge the vote. It was the latest in a series of wins for labor at Starbucks stores across the nation.

Starbucks workers nationwide are celebrating after successful votes to unionize at dozens of U.S. stores. But when the celebrations die down, the Associated Press notes a daunting hurdle remains. Unionized stores have to sit down with Starbucks and negotiate a contract to win the changes they seek, like better pay and more reliable schedules. It's a painstaking process that can take years. And it's all happening amid tensions between Workers United. That’s the union which represents organized Starbucks outlets. The NLRB has filed forty five complaints against Starbucks for various labor law violations. The list includes firing workers for union activity. Starbucks has filed two complaints against the union, saying labor organizers harassed and intimidated workers at some stores.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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