FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Employees at the Starbucks on Herndon and Marks avenues have voted unanimously to reject union representation, following months of protest and back-and-forth with the company.

Maria Rivera from Workers United says the vote is a result of intimidation practices.

“That shows you the type of terror they’re been facing. All the threats and harassment. No one wanted to lose their job,” she said.

The intention to unionize was first announced in a letter in April. Employees complained of low pay, dangerous working conditions and inconsistent benefits.

Benjamin Takemoto authored the letter and was later put on indefinite paid time off. It’s it meant a move Rivera believes to intimidate other employees.

“He was told not to contact coworkers, not to stop by the store…” she said.

Starbucks issued a statement in response to the vote and claims of unfair treatment:

“The majority of partners at this store voted to keep our direct relationship. This is a resounding vote of confidence in moving forward and continuing to partner directly with Starbucks. We have fully honored the process laid out by the NLRB and encouraged our partners to exercise their right to vote in the election to have their voices heard. Any claims of unfair labor practices are categorically false.”


Rivera says the fight to unionize continues for hundreds of Starbucks across the nation, and her organization will continue to look out for Takemoto and his coworkers.

“We won’t just walk away and leave him hanging,” she said.

This Starbucks would’ve been the first-ever in Fresno to unionize. If they want to push for it again, they’ll have to wait a year to vote on it.