AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: This article has been updated throughout.
Workers at Austin Starbucks locations are joining the nationwide effort to form unions.
Since the first Austin location declared its intent to unionize on March 7, two other locations have now done the same.
In a letter addressed to the president and CEO of Starbucks, the location on 45th Street and Lamar Boulevard said on March 21, "We stand with our neighboring store, 24th and Nueces, in the downtown district of Austin, Texas."
On March 25, workers at the pick-up Starbucks location at 22nd and Rio Grande streets also announced that they are officially declaring their intent to unionize.
When KVUE reached out to Starbucks for a statement regarding the additional union efforts, a representative said the following:
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.
The first location to start the union process was the Starbucks on 24th and Nueces streets near the University of Texas.
According to a letter declaring their intents, this location is in a unique situation because it is mostly run by students.
"Our store is a unique space where students serve students, where customers and Partners not only share connections in the store, but also in their classes," the letter states. "Our store, comprised mainly of UT Austin students, presents unique scheduling challenges; this doesn't change the fact that each and every Partner at 24th and Nueces cares very deeply for each other and for the store."
A spokesperson from Starbucks released the following statement in response to KVUE's March 7 inquiry in regard to the union:
"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. Starbucks success—past, present, and future—is built on how we partner together, always with Our Mission and Values at our core.
"As Rossann Williams, evp and president, North America, recently shared with our partners “the vote outcomes will not change our shared purpose or how we will show up for each other. … We will keep listening, we will keep connecting and we will keep being in service of one another because that’s what we’ve always done and what it means to be partner."
Starbucks also provided the following links to some of its benefit programs:
In the students' letter, they said that Starbucks has been less than supportive in regard to unions.
"Historically, Starbucks has maintained the position that a union is unnecessary because this is a different kind of company that values us as Partners, rather than employees," the letter states. "At one time, we enjoyed some of the best benefits in any industry, and a company culture that made for a wonderful place to work and that was reflected in our excellent customer service."
However, they claimed that culture has "eroded" in recent years.
"We have felt increasingly pressured to do more with less, in terms of both labor and product," the letter states. "We have experienced a lack of support and competence on the part of those in positions of authority in the company, who are out of touch with the day to day realities and challenges of the operation of our stores. That is precisely why we want a union; to pave the way for a workplace that works for us."
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