Starbucks Inc. announced Tuesday that it has raised wages and expanded training at corporate-owned locations in the United States. But she said the changes would not apply to union stores recently, or to stores that may be in the process of forming unions, such as those where workers have petitioned for union elections.
On a call with investors to discuss the company’s quarterly earnings, CEO Howard Schultz said the spending would bring investments in workers and stores to nearly $1 billion for the fiscal year and that it would help Starbucks keep pace with customer traffic.
“The investments will enable us to handle increased demand – and achieve increased profitability – while delivering a superior experience to our customers and reducing pressure on our partners,” Schultz said, using the company’s terms for employees.
The initiative was announced as the union won initial votes in 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 an increase of at least 5 percent for employees with two to five years of experience, or a 5 percent increase over their company’s starting wage rate. which one is bigger.
Employees with more than five years of experience will receive at least a 7 percent increase, or a 10 percent increase over the starting wage in their market, whichever is greater.
The company will also increase the salaries of store managers.
The plans also call for a doubling of training hours for new baristas, as well as additional training for existing baristas and shift supervisors.
In a formal charge filed with the National Labor Relations Board, the union representing newly unionized Starbucks workers — United Workers, a subsidiary of Service Employees International — accused the company of coercing employees who were voting in union elections by suggesting that it would block new benefits if they joined unions .
The company said it is legally prohibited from enforcing unilateral increases in wages and benefits at stores where employees are unionized or will soon vote for unions. It should be noted that you must negotiate with the union any changes in pay or benefits.
But labor law experts said it might be illegal to withhold wages and benefits from only unionized employees or employees who vote in a union.
Matthew Boddy, a former Labor Council attorney who studies law at St. Louis University, said the announced wage increases could illegally pollute the so-called laboratory conditions that are supposed to prevail during union elections by giving employees an incentive not to join unions.
“If Starbucks said, ‘Stop the union campaign and you’re going to get this pay raise and better benefits,’ that would obviously be illegal.” Bodhi said by email. “It’s hard to see how this differs so much in practice.”
Mr. Bode said wage increases could also amount to a violation of the company’s obligation to bargain in good faith because it indicated an intent to give union employees a worse deal than non-union employees. “They will at least have to present this package to the guild,” the text added.
Starbucks spokesman Reggie Burgess did not say whether the company would make the same proposals announced Tuesday in negotiations with union workers, but said, “Where Starbucks is required to engage in collective bargaining, Starbucks will always negotiate in good faith.”
Starbucks also said it plans to post flyers in stores to keep employees informed, as the company says the outcome of collective bargaining is uncertain and risky. “Through collective bargaining, wages, benefits and working conditions may improve, decrease or remain the same,” says one of the information sheets to be published in stores.
These messages are common among employers facing union campaigns, but labor experts say they are misleading because workers are unlikely to see a reduction in their compensation as a result of collective bargaining.