change is brewing

Houston Starbucks makes 'venti' move as first in the city to unionize

Houston Starbucks makes 'venti' move as first in the city to unionize

Starbucks worker
Houston now has its first unionized Starbucks. Starbucks/Instagram

Employees at a Starbucks in Upper Kirby are the first in Houston to announce plans to unionize.

CultureMap news partner ABC13 reports that hourly workers at the Upper Kirby location on Shepherd Drive and Harold Street officially announced plans to unionize after passing the threshold of 30 percent of their workforce signing on. The move is to advocate for better working conditions.

“We’re kind of expected to do the same amount of work with the same expediency with far fewer people,” Cameron Davis, who is organizing union efforts at the Shepherd store, tells ABC13’s Pooja Lodhia.

Davis and his coworkers add that Starbucks has often cut hours when raising wages. They note that certain positions such as store manager, have yet to be filled.

The trend towards local unionization started in Buffalo, New York, where Starbucks workers there were the first in the nation to organize for more employee power.

“It’s not taking the power, we’re reclaiming the power that we’ve been told we have,” Davis tells Lodhia. “This is unprecedented to Houston, but we have seen stores do this in Austin and Dallas.”
Starbucks corporate responded to the news in a statement to ABC13.

We are listening and learning from the partners in these stores as we always do across the country. From the beginning, 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. We respect our partner’s right to organize and are committed to following the NLRB process.

Notably, Texas is a right-to-work state; time will tell how unionized workers fare here.