Austin Starbucks workers join national labor push
Baristas at a Starbucks by the UT campus will tally votes Friday on whether to unionize.
The big picture: The strong economy, combined with a pro-union White House and lingering pandemic concerns, are fueling a new labor movement across the U.S.
- Workers at the Starbucks on West 24th Street are the latest group to consider forming a union.
What they're saying: Morgan Leavy, who works at the Starbucks at 45th and Lamar — which recently became the first in Texas to unionize — said employees want better insurance and higher pay.
- At a starting salary of $14 for baristas, Leavy said Starbucks workers in Austin can't afford rent.
- "Starbucks workers are not paid enough for a job that's more skilled than people assume," Leavy told Axios.
- If you support the effort, list your name as "Union Strong" when you order a coffee, Leavy said.
Between the lines: Starbucks workers aiming to organize have complained of union-busting techniques, such as cut hours and tighter rules, per KVUE.
The other side: A Starbucks spokesperson defended the company's benefits and COVID policies in a statement to Axios and pointed to the recent announcement of increased wages and benefits for staff at non-unionized locations.
- "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 spokesperson wrote in an email.
- The company has also said that "any claims of union busting are false."
State of play: Aaron Sojourner, an analyst at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, told Axios that conditions for forming a union are more favorable than they have been in decades.
- "Workers are in the driver's seat in the labor market right now," he said, citing job security as an incentive to seek better pay and conditions through bargaining power.
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