MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — Starbucks employees on Georgia Ave in Olney voted 9 to 4 in favor of unionizing making them the third to do so in the state and first in Montgomery County. 

“I feel like this is something we expected like we expected to win,” said shift supervisor Ryan Kimmel. “We thought it would be a little bit closer. But nonetheless, we won and we’re happy about it, so we plan to celebrate maybe tomorrow night. This is a win for us, so we’re happy.”

In a letter to the Starbucks CEO, the Starbucks Workers United organization wrote they have grown increasingly stressed during the pandemic dealing with labor cuts, COVID-19 restrictions and isolations, product shortages and outages and backlash from customers.

“It’s so costly to have medical insurance here at Starbucks, and during COVID a lot of them struggled with health issues,” said Stephanie Hernandez, Starbucks Workers United organizer. “And the fact that a lot of them can’t even afford to get their own health care here at Starbucks is really sad.”

More than 250 stores of the largest coffee company in the country have filed petitions for union elections, but their efforts to unionize have not been met without pushback.

WDVM reached out to Starbucks for comment. In a statement, a Starbucks spokesperson wrote, “We’ve been clear in our belief that we are better together as partners, without a union between us, and that conviction has not changed.”