A Montrose-located Starbucks has become the first Starbucks location in Houston to unionize, making it the ninth unionized Starbucks in the state of Texas. The news broke last Thursday, when the employees of the Starbucks at Shepherd and Harold (2801 S. Shepherd Drive) voted 11-3 to unionize, after first filing for an election this past July.
“I’m feeling very encouraged and empowered," said one of the location’s shift supervisors, Kiersten Kelly, in a statement. "Excited to show people just how much we are capable of."
“After today’s victory I feel very proud, overjoyed and hopeful for our journey ahead,” added one of the store’s baristas, Jordyn Johnson.
The location’s union vote is bittersweet, however, as it follows on the heels of a union-busting campaign that led to the firing of tenured worker Josh DeLeon, who had led union efforts at the shop. According to a release from Workers United, DeLeon, who had worked at Starbucks for nine years, is now one of three Starbucks union leaders in the state of Texas who have been fired in response to their efforts to unionize. Over 100 union leaders have been fired by Starbucks nationally.
“It took an unbelievable amount of work and we’re trying to find time to celebrate even though we see it really is just the start of this fight going forward,” said DeLeon in a statement.
Nationwide, there are now 240 unionized Starbucks located across 33 states (including nine in Texas), and 325 Starbucks across the country have filed for union elections—a number that only stands to increase in the coming weeks and months as unionization efforts continue to pick up steam.