Economic Insider

Starbucks Employees Call for Extended Benefits

The corporation increased its pay as a result of Starbucks employees’ recent unionization efforts. Meanwhile, labor leaders are calling for expanded benefits as the salary raise is officially slated to take effect this coming Monday. They believe that no bargain should be struck.

Last May, Starbucks announced it would raise workers’ wages after its workers organized into unions. The company also said that in addition to the pay rise, there would be additional perks such as credit card tips. However, a Seattle-based Starbucks chain said it would not extend benefits because it would first have to go through a negotiation process.

The union leaders wrote to Starbucks -Teo Howard Shultz that the advantages could be offered to employees of the union company without negotiations. The letter continues to take note of other advantages, such as faster sick time accrual and reimbursement of medical trips, especially for those looking for abortion and gender care.

The letter read, “Workers United refuses to stand by while Starbucks cynically promises new benefits only to non-unionized workers and withholds them from our members.” It was signed by Lynne Fox, the president of Workers United.

Of the 9,000 Starbucks locations, 200 stores are already unionized. 40 is still being voted on, data from the National Labor Relations Board reveals.

To answer these demands, Starbucks stated in a fact sheet, “The law is clear: once a store unionizes, no changes to benefits are allowed without good faith collective bargaining.”

The website says that if employees have access to the benefits that were available when they submitted the petition, they are allowed to negotiate regarding later adjustments to working conditions, benefits, and wages.

According to legal counsel, the case may be heard by an administrative law judge of the National Labor Relations Board.

Read Also: New Zealand Opens its Borders after Years of Strict Lockdown Protocols

“Once a union has been certified, an employer is obligated to bargain with that union before making any changes to terms and conditions of employment,” Stephen Holroyd said, a lawyer at Jennings Sigmond. Holroyd is famous for his in-depth knowledge of labor unions. He has also worked for the NLRB.

Holroyd went on to say that the union’s decision could mean that Starbucks is doing what it does only because of union efforts.

More benefits due to unionization?

According to Daniel Sobol, a lawyer at Stevens & Lee, the federal courts and the NLRB have opposing views on the issue.

“If [ benefit enhancements are] done solely to chill unionizing, that could be an issue,” Sobol stated. Furthermore, he justified that Starbucks may not be obligated to impose an increase on unionized employees due to inflation.

Starbucks Workers United’s attorney stated that two cases had been assigned to the docket. He went on to say that the benefits that Starbucks is currently providing are clearly in response to its employees’ unionization efforts.

“If the union says they have no objection, then the employer can absolutely give them that benefit,” said Catherine Creighton, director of the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University in Buffalo, New York. According to her, the law provides that companies must inform the union and give them the opportunity to bargain.

Read Also: Monkeypox is Now a Global Health Emergency Following Declaration from WHO

According to Starbucks, it is paying over $ 1 billion for employee pay increases, as well as store training and innovations, during the second half of the fiscal year 2022. Starbucks’ CEO canceled the company’s buy-back program so that it could give its resources to improving Starbucks’ stores and increasing the benefits of its workers.

The salary increase will take place this week. Employees with at least 2 years of experience will receive a 5% salary increase. Employees with more than 7 years of experience will see a 7 or 10 percent increase over the market rate.