‘Enhanced benefits only for non-unionised employees’: Starbucks

The coffee chain has introduced new savings and student loan-management initiatives only for employees who are not part of a union


Starbucks has rolled out new financial benefits for its employees. However, they can avail those only as long as they do not unionise.

The ‘My Starbucks Savings’ initiative allows employees to contribute a part of their salary towards a personal savings account through an investment firm. The ‘Student Loan Management Benefit’ allows employees to access resources and guidance on managing student loan debt, along with refinancing and repayment schemes.

These initiatives are aimed at ensuring the coffee chain employees’ financial well-being.

In the past too, the firm has refused to extend any new benefits or increments/pay hikes to employees who were members of unions.

This is because, as per labour laws in the US, companies have to enter into a separate negotiation with unions when it comes to salary and benefits. The cafes where workers are unionised will have to negotiate and bargain for these benefits, which may deter or discourage unionisation.

Across its outlets in the US, Starbucks had increased hourly pay to an average of almost $17 in August 2022, for non-unionised employees only.

This had led to the National Labour Relations Board accusing the coffee chain of depriving increments from unionised employees, and calling the increments illegal.

Over 230 outlets in the US are in favour of unionisation, while about 48 are against the same. The coffee chain has a workforce that is about 2.35 lakh strong.

The Company, meanwhile, is gearing to invest on updating and re-hauling its stores in terms of equipment and infrastructure.

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