Starbucks' Union Handed Over Its Demands In Recent Meeting

Over the long and winding course of Starbucks' efforts to squash its "partners'" resilient unionization struggle, stalling has been the name of the game. In November 2022, the National Labor Relations Board told Starbucks that it legally had to talk to employee union reps. Even though more than 90 meetings have been held since the ruling, none of them have precipitated any visible change. 

That's why Starbucks Workers United officially deemed Wednesday, March 22, 2023, the "Day of Action," coordinating walkouts at roughly 100 stores nationwide and a march on company headquarters in Seattle. It looks like this latest strike might have been the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back because now, the long-awaited, highly-anticipated "real" union contract negotiations have finally begun. On Wednesday, corporate reps and members of Starbucks Workers United sat down together at the bargaining table in a Seattle hotel — and they got right down to talking terms.

Employees are calling for an increased starting wage, credit card tipping, and better healthcare

According to The Washington Post, the union's set of proposals has been over six months in the works, the product of rigorous rounds of editing by lawyers and fellow union employees. The first of their demands is a starting wage of at least $20/hour for all Starbucks baristas nationwide, a notable upgrade from the "Fight for $15" for which many fast-food workers have been acquiescing. 

Against the backdrop of record-high inflation and ever-rising costs of living, $15 isn't enough anymore — which is why they're also requesting all stores to implement credit card tipping. Other demands are directly aimed at avoiding the unlawful union-busting tactics that Starbucks enacted under interim CEO Howard Schultz's leadership. SBWU requests consistent schedules and a 37-hour weekly guarantee for full-time employees. 

Perhaps the most revolutionary item on the table is a no-cost healthcare plan for full- and part-time workers. Indeed, the fact that these contract negotiations are taking place at all is pretty revolutionary. If successful, a Starbucks union contract has the potential to transform America's food service industry and alter the reality for low-wage hospitality workers around the world.

These were only some of SBWU's demands, which were debated during the four-hour-long meeting — record stamina for corporate Starbucks reps who have been known to literally walk out of union meetings 15 minutes in. Still, Starbucks' lawyers were the ones to adjourn Wednesday's meeting.