Starbucks plans wage increases that will not apply to unionized workers

Starbucks announced Tuesday that it was raising wages and expanding training at corporate-owned locations in the United States. But he said the changes would not apply to newly unionized stores, or to stores that may be in the process of unionizing, such as those where workers have petitioned for a union election.

In a call with investors to discuss the company’s quarterly earnings, CEO Howard Schultz said the spending would bring investments in workers and stores to nearly $1 billion for the fiscal year and help Starbucks keep up. with customer traffic.

“The investments will allow us to handle increased demand and deliver higher profitability, while providing a superior experience to our customers and reducing pressure on our partners,” said Mr. Schultz, using the company’s term for the employees.

The initiative was announced as the union won initial votes at more than 50 Starbucks stores, including several this week.

The pay increases follow a commitment to raise the company’s hourly minimum wage to $15 this summer and will include a raise of at least 5 percent for employees with two to five years of experience, or a 5 percent raise for above the starting salary in your market, whichever is higher.

Employees with more than five years of experience will receive a raise of at least 7 percent or a 10 percent raise over starting salary in their market, whichever is greater.

The company will also increase the salary of store managers.

The plans also call for doubling the hours of training new baristas receive, as well as additional training for existing baristas and shift supervisors.

In an indictment filed with the National Labor Relations Board, the union representing newly unionized Starbucks workers, Workers United, a branch of the Service Employees International Union, accused the company of coercing employees who voted in a union election suggesting they would retain new benefits if they unionized.

The company said it was legally prohibited from unilaterally imposing wage and benefit increases at stores where employees have unionized or will soon vote to unionize. He noted that he must negotiate with a union on any change in salary or benefits.

But labor law experts said it could be illegal to withhold wages and benefits only from unionized employees or employees who vote in a union.

Matthew Bodie, a former labor board attorney who teaches law at Saint Louis University, said the announced wage increases could illegally taint the so-called lab conditions that are supposed to prevail during a union election by giving employees an incentive to not unionize.

“If Starbucks said, ‘Drop the union drive and you’ll get this pay raise and better benefits,’ that would clearly be illegal,” Bodie said by email. “It’s hard to see how this is so different in practice.”

Mr. Bodie said the wage increases could also amount to a violation of the company’s obligation to bargain in good faith because they suggest an intent to treat union employees worse than non-union employees. “They would have to offer at least this package to the union,” Bodie added.

Reggie Borges, a spokesman for Starbucks, would not say whether the company would make the same proposals announced Tuesday in negotiations with union workers, but said: “When Starbucks is required to engage in collective bargaining, Starbucks will always bargain in good faith.”

Starbucks also said it planned to post flyers in stores to keep employees informed, in which the company says the outcome of collective bargaining is uncertain and risky. “Through collective bargaining, wages, benefits and working conditions can be improved, decreased or maintained,” reads one of the fact sheets to be placed in stores.

Such a message is common among employers facing union campaigns, but labor experts say it’s misleading because workers are highly unlikely to see their compensation drop as a result of collective bargaining.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.