California Observer

Starbucks to Offer New Employee Benefits, Except in Unionized Stores

Photo: NPR


Starbucks interim CEO Howard Schultz has revealed new employee benefits for approximately 240,000 workers. There are benefits for over 8,800 stores all over the country. The updated policies include extensive training, increased sick leave, and credit card tipping options. 

But those who are unionizing cannot participate. 

“We do not have the same freedom to make these improvements at locations that have a union or where union organizing is underway

As announced last October, the company has confirmed an increase in wages across all employments. Also, those including those at unionizing stores. 

Starting on August 1st, workers will receive one of two pay hikes – a 3% increase or $15 per hour. Therefore, depending on which is higher. Moreover, tenured hourly employees are getting more than the others, though. 

New Employee Benefits of Starbucks 

The new benefits were let out amid 230 Starbucks stores filing petitions for union elections. And around 50 stores voting to join the national union Workers in December. Therefore, marking the movement as one of the biggest union campaigns in America. 

Schultz suggested that Starbucks might rule out unionized stores from new benefits in remarks to store managers during a video call this April. However, he is only known for sure recently that Starbucks is not given permission by law to provide new benefits to a store.  Those who are in support for a union amid a collective bargaining process. 

Workers United took exception to Schultz’s claim and sued for unfair labor practices with the National Labor Relations Board.

“Under Section 8 (a) (5) [of the Fair Labor Standards Act], employers simply cannot implement new benefits during contract negotiations unilaterally,” said a counsel for Workers United, Gabe Frumkin, in the filing. “Instead, they must bargain with the union if they wish to implement new benefit programs.” 

In the court documents, Frumkin alleged Schultz misinterpreted the law by providing the misimpression that Starbucks could not provide such benefits to the employees or their union representative. The remarks made by Schultz had an instant and obscure chilling impact on organizing movements across the country, wrote Frumkin. 


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