Starbucks plans wage hike that won’t apply to unionized workers

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

On a call with investors to discuss the company’s quarterly earnings, the chief executive, Howard Schultz, said the spending would bring about $1 billion in workers and stores for the fiscal year and that would help Starbucks build up customer traffic. will help keep it.

Using the company’s term for employees, Mr. Schultz said, “The investment will enable us to handle increased demand – and deliver increased profitability – while simultaneously providing an enhanced experience to our customers and reducing the stress on our partners.” will do.”

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

The pay increase follows a commitment this summer to raise the company’s minimum hourly wage to $15 and include at least a 5 percent increase for employees with two to five years of experience, or 5 percent above their starting pay rate. increase will be included. market, whichever is higher.

Employees with more than five years of experience will receive an increase of at least 7 percent, or a 10 percent increase from their market starting salary, whichever is higher.

The company will also increase the salaries 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 a formal allegation filed with the National Labor Relations Board, the union representing the newly unionized Starbucks workers – Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union – accused the company of coercing employees who would join the union by suggesting were voting in the election. If they become federated it will withhold new benefits.

The company said it is legally prohibited from unilaterally raising wages and benefits in stores where employees have unionized or will soon vote on unionization. It noted that it must negotiate with a union on any wage or benefit changes.

But labor law experts said it may be illegal to withhold wages and benefits only to union workers or employees who vote in the union.

Matthew Bodie, a former Labor Board attorney who teaches law at St. Louis University, said the announced pay hike could unlawfully stigmatize so-called lab conditions, which are prevalent during a union election by encouraging employees not to unionize. Huh.

“If Starbucks said, ‘Leave the union campaign and you get this pay increase and better benefits,’ then that would clearly be illegal,” Mr. Bodie said by email. “It’s hard to see how different it is in practice.”

Mr Bodie said the wage increase may also be a breach of a company’s obligation because they intend to give union employees a worse deal than non-union employees. “They have to at least offer this package to the union,” Mr Bodie said.

Starbucks spokesman Reggie Borges did not say whether the company would make a similar offer announced Tuesday in talks with union employees, but said, “Where Starbucks is required to engage in collective bargaining, Starbucks will always negotiate in good faith.”

Starbucks also said it planned to post leaflets in stores to keep employees informed, which the company says is uncertain and risky as the outcome of the collective bargaining. “Through collective bargaining, wages, benefits and working conditions can improve, decrease or remain the same,” says one of the informational sheets posted in stores.

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

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