SAN DIEGO — A Starbucks location in Hillcrest has successfully voted to unionize, becoming the first in the city of San Diego and the second in the county to join nationwide collective bargaining efforts with the coffee giant.

Workers at the University & Richmond Starbucks approved union representation in a vote last week — a little over a month after a petition was submitted to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), initiating the process.

All full-time and part-time baristas and shift supervisors at the branch were eligible to participate in the vote, according to the NLRB. Of the 17 eligible voters, 15 voted for unionization and two voted against it.

“Combined, our partners have dedicated over a lifetime of working at Starbucks,” Emma Bradshaw, a barista and organizer at the location, said in a release on Monday. “We deserve job security, a safe work environment, and to be recognized for our dedication to Starbucks and our community. Through unionizing we hope to have our voices heard and our needs met.”

Efforts to unionize within Starbucks began at the coffee franchise back in December 2021, spearheaded by employees under the organization, Starbucks Workers United. Since then, more than 340 of the company’s 9,480 domestic stores have voted to unionize.

Back in May, an Encinitas store, located right off Interstate 5 near Leucadia Boulevard, became the first Starbucks to unionize in the San Diego region.

Over 100 complaints against the coffee chain have also been filed with the NLRB since efforts began, with multiple federal labor judges finding the company liable for violations including the firing of labor organizers and closing of unionized stores.

However, Starbucks officials maintain that the company is a leader in the industry with regards to benefits for full and part-time employees.

“As a company, we believe that our direct relationship as partners is core to the culture and experiences we create in our stores,” Starbucks spokesperson Andrew Trull said in a statement to FOX 5 after the Hillcrest store’s unionization. “To that end, wherever we can quickly and broadly improve partner benefits and perks, our history demonstrates we have.”

“We recognize that a subset of partners feel differently — and we respect their right to organize and to engage in lawful union activities without fear of reprisal or retaliation,” he continued. “We are committed to engaging in good faith collective bargaining for each store where a union has been appropriately certified.”

The next step for the Hillcrest store will be for the NLRB to certify the election. Workers United will then have to identify a representative for the store and send the company an initial bargaining demand, which would initiate contract negotiation processes.

According to the company, Starbucks officials have proposed more than 425 single-store bargaining sessions stores and has appeared in-person at about 105 of these negotiations.

The company says Starbucks Workers United has yet to reach a contract agreement in these negotiations at any of the unionized stores.