Sat, May 27, 2023

Starbucks Union Status Still Under Debate


During the massive worker shortage that the Covid pandemic brought on, there were tons of changes for the US workforce. Dismayed by the conditions they’ve been working in, many have started demanding restructuring in worker-employer relations. That’s especially apparent in the service industry, where a large part of the US workforce resides.

The biggest coffee franchise, Starbucks, has been at the center of its dispute. Its workers have complained about unethical practices aimed at reducing their wages and benefits. Things such as intentionally cutting hours to reduce medical coverage come to mind.

The situation has gotten drastic enough to where it simply wasn’t acceptable for workers. As such, they’ve started pushing towards unionization, which the company has tried to stop in every way possible. Many stores have been closed, and employees fired due to unionization efforts. Legal action has ensued, generating some publicity for the entire situation.

The movement toward unionization has generated so much attention that it has reached lawmakers and senators. In a recent discussion, Howard Schultz, the CEO of the coffee chain, claimed that it simply doesn’t need a union. The comment came after criticism regarding the company’s harsh and illegal union-busting methods.

Bernie Sanders went as far as to call it “the most aggressive and illegal union-busting campaign in the modern history of our country.” The criticism is backed up by store closures and firings that started as soon as the first Starbucks stores voted to unionize. The first Starbucks union was voted in 2021 by employees in a store.

Schultz’s argument is that the store pays enough, averaging $17.50 per hour for baristas. He also pointed toward school tuition and health insurance coverage benefits as further proof. The union replied that unionization was the reason that the store improved the benefits to where they are now in the first place.



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