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Mockingbird Station Starbucks Passes Unanimous Vote to Unionize [Updated]

Organizers state the coffee giant doesn’t pay a living wage or offer support in staffing and resources

A sign reading “Union” waves outside a Starbucks store.
The national wave of unionizing hits two Dallas-area Starbucks locations.
Jill Toyoshiba/Kansas City Star/Tribune News Service via Getty Images
Courtney E. Smith is the editor of Eater Dallas. She's a journalist of 20 years who was born and raised in Texas, with bylines in Pitchfork, Wired, Esquire, Yahoo!, Salon, Refinery29, and more. When she's not writing about food, she co-hosts the podcast Songs My Ex Ruined.

The nationwide Starbucks unionization wave has come to Dallas. Two locations, the one at Mockingbird Station near Southern Methodist University and the location at 5000 Belt Line Rd. in Addison, announced their intent to unionize on Twitter on Wednesday, May 25.

In a letter from the Mockingbird Station organizing committee, workers said their motivation to organize a union came from feeling it was time to remind the corporation that it was “built by and for people.” They assert that it is difficult to work for a company that does not give them the resources to meet customer demands, is understaffed, and doesn’t pay well enough “to meet our basic needs as human beings.”

The letter further details a lack of support from management and workers’ deteriorating physical and mental health under the current conditions.

The organizing committee in Addison cited the same factors and the removal of benefits awarded during the pandemic, including a pay raise and “food and beverage benefits,” and a lack of transparency in communication from Starbucks’ corporate offices. “We want to be seen as human and be humanized by corporate rather than being seen as a number on a page that, in turn, make them money without a second thought to our lives and livelihoods,” the committee writes.

The letters from both locations acknowledge the connection to their communities that the Starbucks workers feel while also citing a lack of support. The Addison team specifically calls their store manager “very supportive” but says the manager is often not in the location because they’re shipped out to train others “because of the egregious turnover rates Starbucks witnesses due to its egregious labor practices.”

Both locations are organizing in collaboration with Starbucks Workers United, a collective of Starbucks partners helping to organize across the country. In the past month, Starbucks locations in Northern California, New Orleans, Portland, Minnesota, Long Beach, and Augusta, Georgia have unionized or announced their intention to unionize.

In what Starbucks Workers United called a “union busting campaign” against the nationwide unionization efforts, Starbucks corporate has allegedly increased wages and benefits at non-union stores.

In response, a representative for Starbucks said, “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.

“As [Starbucks CEO] Howard [Schultz] recently shared in a letter to partners, ‘We will become the best version of Starbucks by co-creating our future directly as partners. And we will strengthen the Starbucks community by upholding each other’s dreams; upholding the standards and rituals of the company; celebrating partner individuality and voice; and upholding behaviors of mutual respect and dignity.’

Additionally, as Rossann Williams, EVP and president, North America, 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.’”

As of July 29, the Mockingbird Station Starbucks voted unanimously to unionize. The decision was announced in a tweet.

Eater Dallas reached out to representatives at local stores for additional comment.

Update: August 2, 2022, 8:25 a.m.: This post has been updated to include the outcome of the union vote at Mockingbird Station.