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Five Richmond Starbucks stores become first in Virginia to unionize

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Employees at five Starbucks coffee stores in the Richmond area have voted overwhelmingly for union representation as part of a nationwide effort to organize workers at one of the United States’ largest retail store chains.

Preliminary vote results counted by the National Labor Relations Board on Tuesday show that employees at Starbucks at five stores in the Richmond area have voted by a significant majority to unionize.

The votes cast among employees at the five stores showed a vote that was 82 employees in favor of union representation and 14 votes against union representation, according to a tally by the Northern Virginia Labor Federation, which has been working with Workers United, a Philadelphia-based union, to organize workers at Starbucks stores.

“This is a growing movement and growing all the time,” said Virginia Diamond, president of the Northern Virginia Labor Federation, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, on Tuesday, “This is a generation of workers that believes they can build a labor movement for the future.”

The votes were among employees at Starbucks stores at Huguenot Village, Willow Lawn, Westchester Commons, Carmia Way and Forest Hill Avenue. Employees at four more Richmond-area stores are still waiting to vote.

The majority vote among the five stores was significant, said Jillian O’Hare, an employee at Starbucks for almost four years.

“This five-for-five yes vote shows that Richmond is a union town, and this is just the beginning and we are not going to let a corporation silence our voices. We are not going to let billionaire union-busters stand in our way.”

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