Starbucks is planning wage increases that will not apply to unionized workers.
Starbucks announced on Tuesday that it was increasing wages and expanding training at company-owned facilities in the United States. But he said the changes would not apply to recently unionized stores, or stores that may be in the process of unionizing, such as those where workers have filed a petition for a union election.
On a call with investors to discuss the company’s quarterly results, chief executive Howard Schultz said the spending will bring investments in workers and stores to nearly $1 billion for the company. exercise and would help Starbucks keep pace with customer traffic.
“The investments will allow us to manage increased demand – and increase profitability – while delivering an elevated experience to our customers and reducing pressure on our partners,” Schultz said, using the term from the company for employees.
The initiative was announced as the union won the first votes at more than 50 Starbucks stores, including several this week.
The wage increases follow a commitment to raise the company’s minimum hourly wage to $15 this summer and will include a raise of at least 5% for employees with two to five years of experience, or a 5% increase above the starting salary rate in their market, whichever is higher.
Employees with more than five years of experience will receive a raise of at least 7%, or a raise of 10% above the starting salary in their market, whichever is greater.
The company will also raise the salaries of store managers.
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 complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board, the union representing newly organized Starbucks workers – Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union – accused the company of coercing employees who voted in an election. union by suggesting that he would withhold new benefits if they unionized.
The company said it is legally prohibited from unilaterally imposing wage and benefit increases at stores where employees have unionized or will soon vote on unionization. He noted that he must negotiate with a union on any changes to wages or benefits.
But labor law experts said it could be illegal to withhold wages and benefits only from unionized employees or employees who vote for a union.
Matthew Bodie, a former labor board attorney who teaches law at Saint Louis University, said the announced wage increases could illegally taint the so-called lab conditions supposed to prevail in a union election by inciting employees not to unionize.
“If Starbucks said, ‘Drop the union campaign and you’ll get this pay raise and better benefits,’ that would clearly be illegal,” Bodie said by email. “Hard to see how this is so different in practice.”
Mr Bodie said the wage increases could also be a breach of the company’s duty to bargain in good faith because they suggest an intention to give unionized employees a worse deal than non-unionized employees. “They should at least offer this package to the union,” Mr. Bodie added.
Reggie Borges, a Starbucks spokesperson, did not say whether the company would make the same proposals announced Tuesday during negotiations with union workers, but said: “When Starbucks is required to engage in collective bargaining, Starbucks will always bargain in good faith.”
Starbucks also said it plans to post flyers in stores to keep employees informed, in which the company says the outcome of collective bargaining is uncertain and risky. “Through collective bargaining, wages, benefits and working conditions can improve, decrease or stay the same,” reads one of the fact sheets to be displayed in stores.
Such messages are common among employers facing union campaigns, but labor experts say they are misleading because workers are highly unlikely to see their pay cut as a result of collective bargaining.
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