Starbucks raising U.S. workers’ pay as union effort looms

Starbucks said Wednesday it is raising its U.S. employees’ pay and making other changes to improve working conditions in its stores.

The Seattle-based coffee giant said all of its U.S. workers will earn at least $15—and up to $23—per hour by next summer. In late January, employees with two or more years of service will get a 5% raise, while those with five or more years of service could receive up to a 10% raise. Workers can also get a $200 recruitment bonus to help attract new employees.

In a letter to employees, Starbucks’ North America President Rossann Williams said the pay raises not only support workers but will enhance recruitment efforts in a challenging labor market. Starbucks said it’s the third time in 24 months that it has raised workers’ pay.

The action comes amid some worker unrest for the company. Employees at three Starbucks stores in Buffalo, New York, are trying to form a union to give them greater leverage on issues like understaffing of stores and worker training. The group, Starbucks Workers United, has filed petitions with the National Labor Relations Board seeking union votes.

Michelle Eisen, an 11-year Starbucks veteran who works at one of the Buffalo stores and supports the union effort, said Starbucks—which turned 50 this year—has had decades to implement seniority pay but is only choosing to do so now.

“We look forward to making more improvements when we negotiate our contract,” Eisen said.

Starbucks said that the union vote was not the impetus for the announcement. The company, which has no unions at its 8,000 company-owned stores in the U.S., has said it respects workers’ right to organize but doesn’t believe a union is necessary because of its pro-worker policies.

On Wednesday, Starbucks said it’s redesigning and updating its training guide and adding more training time for workers. It said it also plans to test an app that will let workers sign up for available shifts that fit their schedule.

The company said it’s also trying ways to streamline prep areas and reduce complexity, including testing new cold beverage stations in its stores.

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6 thoughts on “Starbucks raising U.S. workers’ pay as union effort looms

  1. A unionized Starbucks coffee shop?… 2021 has been a wild ride. The employees in Buffalo need to research the history of unions and how dead they are in today’s work force.

  2. It appears they have done their research. Unions created the middle class, with livable wages and benefits from working only 1 job. Giving workers the time and opportunity to raise their families and contribute to their communities Their decline, orchestrated by big business and the Republican legislators has resulted in the death of those middle class jobs while the rich get richer.

    1. Notice those self order kiosks at the McDonalds in the airport? They may be paying $15/hr now, but they also were able to eliminate at least 2 people per shift. Coming soon to most other quick service restaurants. Those were planned long before the pandemic, as the “Fight for $15” raged on. So what was the net effect?

      You may want to pay $12 per cup for coffee to support higher wages at $tarbucks, but the avg. person doesn’t, as well as anyone with common sense.

    2. I’m already out of the Starbucks game except for the occasional treat. If they raise prices even more to cover this I won’t be buying at all. Less stores and less customers for a more expensive product, but Starbucks is just the tip of the iceberg. Think of all the places your cutting back on because their getting too expensive as your groceries and gas go up drastically. These type of jobs were never meant to be “middle class” jobs. Labor costs have always ben the highest expense in restaurants so do they raise prices to cover these wages? The problem here is it used to be high schoolers, young people living at home, second and extra income earners taking these jobs, but now they no longer do it and you have immigrants trying to support families in all the fast food places. Starbucks raising wages to as high as $ is not going to solve the problem unless your willing to accept it as a boutique kind of place for high wage earners that can afford it.

    3. Nancy/Karen, it’s a coffee shop…. If that is what you have staked your middle class existence to, then you have really lowered your expectations. As for the death of middle class jobs, GOP has done a horrible job killing them off since every organization is begging for employees at every position.