Starbucks said it will hike wages for tenured workers and double training for new employees as the company and its CEO, Howard Schultz, seek to beat back the union push from its baristas. However, the coffee giant will not offer the enhanced benefits to workers at the roughly 50 company-owned cafes that have voted to unionize. Such changes at unionized stores would have to come through bargaining, Starbucks said. In total, Starbucks plans to spend $1 billion on wage hikes, improved training and store innovation during fiscal 2022, which ends in the fall.
Total Retail’s Take: We’ve seen a surge in retail workers across the country trying to unionize, including at Apple, REI, Amazon.com, and Starbucks. This trend is seen as the result of increasing discontent among retail workers — both in stores and distribution centers — with their wages, working conditions, advancement opportunities, among other factors. The pandemic created additional layers of stress and pressure for retail workers, traditionally an industry with high employee turnover rates. Attempts by workers to unionize have been met with resistance by retail organizations. This is seen in Starbucks’ decision to offer increased wages and enhanced benefits to its non-unionized store locations. The company is trying to fend off further unionization attempts within its workforce, and is wisely creating perks that could potentially dissuade employees from wanting to form a union.
““Partners will receive these pay, benefits and store-improvement investments at all U.S. company-operated stores where Starbucks has the right to unilaterally make these changes,” the company said in a statement. “However, at stores where workers have union representation, federal law requires good faith bargaining over wages, benefits and working conditions which prohibits Starbucks from making or announcing unilateral changes.”