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Victory for Starbucks workers: Indio store joins unionization trend, celebrates rights and better conditions

Workers at a valley Starbucks are celebrating after winning union representation for their store.

The Starbucks located at Highway 111 and Monroe Street in Indio marks the second Starbucks in the valley to join the fight for a legally protected place at the bargaining table. Thursday's vote came back 17 to 5, with a majority of employees in favor of unionizing.

"It's really exciting," said shift supervisor Isaiah Ruiz, who has been working towards this goal for the past several months. He said baristas at the Starbucks faced deteriorating conditions, including working for several weeks in inches of leaking sewage.

This unionization victory means that the workers will have more of a voice, and Ruiz believes it will lead to more rights, better safety conditions, better pay, and an overall improved experience for both the employees and the customers.

He also highlighted the support they have received from the community, with many community members showing their support during a recent sip-in event.

Ruiz said that Starbucks' corporate representatives have not been as supportive and retaliated by trying to push the election back. "As a company that says they listened to the partners, they clearly weren't," he said.

In a statement to News Channel 3, Starbucks said, "We believe that a direct relationship with our partners is the right path forward... To be clear: we respect the right of all partners to make their own decisions about union representation, and we are committed to engaging in good faith collective bargaining."

Ruiz and his team were inspired by a La Quinta Starbucks store, which became the first in the valley to unionize last August. He hopes that other stores will look toward his store in the future.

Currently, there are 25 unionized Starbucks stores in California and more than 300 across the nation.

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Jake Ingrassia

Joining News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 as a reporter, Jake is excited to be launching his broadcasting career here in the desert. Learn more about Jake here.


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