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Starbucks employees’ recent unionization efforts prompted the company to raise their pay. However, as the salary increase makes it to the company calendar – set to be implemented on Monday – labor leaders call for extended benefits. They believe that no bargain should be struck.
Last May, Starbucks announced that it would raise wages for its workers thanks to union efforts. The company also said that benefits such as credit card tips were added along with the salary increase. However, Seattle-based Starbucks said it could not commit to extended benefits because they have to go through a negotiation process first.
Union leaders wrote a letter to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz saying union workers can get benefits without bargaining. The letter also talks about other benefits, such as emergency sick time and reimbursement for medical trips, including abortion and gender care assistance.
The letter said, “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 the president of Workers United, Lynne Fox.
Of the 9,000 locations owned by Starbucks, 200 stores are currently unionized. Figures from the National Labor Relations Board show that 40 chains are still in the deliberation process.
However, Starbucks, in response, said in a factsheet, “The law is clear: once a store unionizes, no changes to benefits are allowed without good faith collective bargaining.”
The site says workers are allowed to bargain for further changes to working conditions, benefits and wages as long as they have access to existing benefits before they file the lawsuit.
According to legal advice, the case could go before the National Labor Relations Board’s administrative law judge.
Stephen Holroyd, a lawyer, said, “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.” Holroyd is a lawyer at Jennings Sigmond, famous for his expertise in labor unions and worked for the NLRB.
Holroyd added that the union action means Starbucks is only doing what it is doing because of the union’s efforts.
More benefits for employees
According to Daniel Sobol, an attorney with Stevens & Lee, the NLRB and the federal courts have conflicting perspectives on the matter.
He added, “If [ benefit enhancements are] done solely to chill unionizing, that could be an issue.” In addition, he reasoned that because of inflation, Starbucks might not have to pass on raises to unionized workers.
According to Starbucks Workers United’s counsel, two cases have been added to the court. He continued by saying that it is obvious that Starbucks is responding to its employees’ efforts to organize a union with the perks it is now providing.
Director of the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University in Buffalo, New York, Catherine Creighton, said: “if the union says they have no objection, then the employer can absolutely give them that benefit.” She added that companies are required by law to send a notice to the union offering it the opportunity to bargain.
According to Starbucks, more than $ 1 billion to increase employees’ salaries, as well as the opening of storage and storage, will be poured during the later half of the financial year 2022. The CEO of Starbucks canceled the company’s purchase plan to realign its resources to improve shops and benefit its employees.
The salary increase will take effect this week. Employees with at least 2 years of experience will see a 5% pay increase. Those with more than 7 years of experience will see a 7% rise or a 10% rise above the market rate.
Opinions expressed by Texas Today contributors are their own.