Starbucks Increases Its U.S. Workers, But Not Those Who Join Unions

The American coffee giant has promised another raise for its employees in the United States, but the president recalls that the law prevents him from making the same promises to those who recently joined unions.

Starbucks will raise the wages of its American employees again. Following the announcement last October of two planned 2022 hikes to raise the hourly wage to a minimum of $15 (a minimum to be reached this summer), group CEO Howard Schultz announced a third hike was planned for October. .

As inflation in the United States hit a level not seen since 1981 in March, the global coffee giant is looking to restore the purchasing power of its workers amid rising consumer prices. And by the way, also pull the rug from under the unions that have been forming at Starbucks for a few months.

This more ambitious pay increase, coupled with a facility transformation plan, will benefit from an additional $200 million envelope, bringing specific spending to $1 billion by 2022.

Federal Law Requires Negotiation

However, during the conference call in which the results were presented, the emblematic Starbucks boss, which took over the reins of the company in April, excluded union workers in his announcement.

“The partners get these salaries” […]said Howard Schultz before clarifying, “We don’t have the same freedom to make these improvements in places where there is a union and where there is union organizing going on.”

The boss clarified that federal law “prohibits us from promising new wages and benefits in stores involved in union organizing.”

Collective labor relations are indeed highly regulated in the United States. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) of 1935 requires employers to negotiate with a union designated as the official workers’ representative. In his companies, the employer cannot even unilaterally decide to increase his employees.

However, a reserve that makes people cringe across the Atlantic. The information, if it only recalled the applicable texts, might have sounded like an additional argument to deter Starbucks employees from organizing collectively.

Because this announcement comes at a time when the Seattle company is facing a wind of unionization unprecedented in its history. In total, employees of 250 cafes in the chain have taken the initiative to form a union since the end of 2021, according to the Starbucks Workers United, which unites the movement.

“Outside Interference”

Although 47 union branches have already been established after elections, the management is not very enthusiastic.

“These young people have valid concerns, Howard Schultz said. They see this nascent union movement as a possible solution. However, we have a very different approach and a much more positive view of our society, based on listening, communication and collaboration.

“Our values ​​are not and have never been the result of interference from an entity outside” the company, implying that the union aspiration was instilled not by employees, but by people outside the company.

To discourage workers from joining a union, management has been distributing announcements for several weeks. After promising more training, the CEO said Starbucks planned to implement new initiatives in September, such as the ability to tip when ordering online or a revenue-sharing system, which he didn’t specify how it works. .

Management also promised improvements in equipment and technology, such as upgrading in-store iPads and accelerating the rollout of new ovens and espresso machines.

On Tuesday, the American takeaway coffee giant also released its first quarter 2022 results, with revenue of $7.6 billion, in line with expectations and up 14% over the first three months of the year 2022, which corresponds to the second quarter of the group’s staggered financial year.

Leave a Comment