Starbucks Union Busting Stirs Controversy


Starbucks has a message for its 8,000 unionized employees, not-so-tacitly delivered: “Sucks to be U!”

The Seattle-based brewer of burnt coffee and coffee-based sugar-delivery systems reported a stellar quarter last week that sent SBUX shares soaring from $91.01 on Wednesday to Monday’s closing price of just over $104. Net sales were up over this time last year by 11.4% and revenues beat Wall Street expectations, $9.37 billion to $9.29 billion.

Starbucks’ retail employees will be equally thrilled with this news. Starbucks’ retail workers will be equally delighted with this news.

Correction: Most Starbucks retail workers.

Starbucks’ plans to grow are becoming more ambitious, according to The Street. The company wants to open new stores in key markets. Starbucks has set the goal to double barista salaries by 2024. This goal has been met.

The company announced on Monday that retail employees would receive a 3% pay increase, along with new benefits. Sara Trilling said that long-term employees will get a 5% pay increase. “We do this by investing in the journey of our Partners, in order to help them bridge a better future at Starbucks.

No, if you’re a member.

Only a few Starbucks employees are unionized in the United States.

Union members receive the same increases as last year. Unionized workers can receive a 3%, 4.5%, or even a 5% increase.

Starbucks has been in a dispute with the National Labor Relations Board over unionization and how Starbucks seems to favor non-union workers.

An NLRB Judge said that the company engaged in a “flagrant corporate assault” on the rights of its employees to union representation. Starbucks has, however, maintained that since 2022, it “doesn’t have the freedom” of increasing pay and benefits at locations where unions exist or are organizing. The reason is that federal law prevents them from increasing wages and benefits in stores involved in unionizing.

I am not sure which side is correct in a legal sense. If workers choose to join unions and use collective bargaining to get better benefits and wages, they will also benefit from collective bargaining.

I have seen unions using tough tactics to permanently cripple American Steelmaking and the (formerly) Big Three Automakers in America. As a result, I’m more than a little thrilled that Howard Schultz is playing hardball.

In Joe Biden’s America, I’ll take any win, no matter how small.