How The Starbucks Union Has Responded To Benefits Exclusions

In light of a new benefit package being offered to non-unionized Starbucks employees, unionized stores have waived their rights to negotiate for these expanded benefits. This move is the latest from unionized Starbucks employees to push against what some are calling "union-busting" tactics.

Back in April, Starbucks announced that it was considering an increased benefits package for its employees. Restaurant Dive reports that these benefits are set to take effect on August 1, 2022, and include increased wages, credit card tipping, and faster sick day accrual. However, these benefits are not being offered to employees at unionized Starbucks locations. The initial announcement came amid a growing push for Starbucks employees to unionize, inciting criticisms that the new benefits were only considered because of the union, and that offering these benefits was a form of union busting. Starbucks has responded by stating that they are legally prohibited from offering these benefits to unionized locations because a fair bargaining period with the union is required by the National Labor Relations Board.

Unionized Starbucks workers agree to accept new benefits without negotiations

Workers United international president Lynne Fox has now responded to Starbucks new benefits package. According to Restaurant Dive, Fox waived Starbucks Workers United's right to bargain over the expanded benefits package in a letter addressed to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. This means that unionized Starbucks employees would receive the same expanded benefits as non-unionized without first requiring a collective bargaining period. CNBC notes that the letter did not waive the right to any future negotiations.

A Starbucks spokesperson reported to Restaurant Dive that they remain committed to bargaining over new benefits for unionized employees. A Starbucks Workers United spokesperson asserted that these tactics were another union-busting effort from Starbucks.

"Starbucks would have never announced these new benefits if not for the pressure that the union campaign put on the company. Of course workers would waive their right to bargain over new benefits that they pressured the company into implementing," the Spokesperson wrote to Restaurant Dive.

Starbucks Workers United has filed more than 200 complaints against the corporation to the National Labor Relations Board citing abusive tactics against pro-union employees and locations, according to Bloomberg Law. CNBC reports that about 200 Starbucks locations out of the 9,000 U.S. stores have voted to unionize while about 40 have voted against it.