Starbucks announced it will meet its goal to raise its pay rates for its U.S. employees to at least $15 an hour starting in 2022.
“The changes announced by Starbucks are an effort to “enhance recruitment efforts in the challenging labor market” retailers face in the country, wrote Rossann Williams, Starbucks executive vice president, North America.
Increased pressure from Starbucks workers may also be driving these moves. In August, Starbucks employees in Buffalo, New York, announced they planned to form a labor union called Starbucks Workers United.
More than 40 employees sent a letter to Starbucks president and CEO Kevin Johnson to express concerns over “raising standards in the industry” and having their voices heard.
We are proud to announce that we have formed an organizing committee of SBWorkersUnited in the Buffalo region. Here is our letter to Kevin Johnson! pic.twitter.com/eOzPE4u1vy
— SBWorkersUnited (@SBWorkersUnited) August 23, 2021
While Starbucks did not mention Starbucks Workers United specifically in its corporate letter on Oct. 27, it outlined the various ways the company plans to improve the employee experience.
“Your partner experience is our top priority,” Williams wrote in the letter.
Starbucks’ plan to invest in the company and its employees includes:
Raising Starbucks’ Minimum Wage to $15/hour
Back in November 2020, Starbucks announced it would start making moves to increase a barista’s minimum wage to $15/hour. The company now says it will meet this goal by summer 2022.
Williams noted any employee with two or more years of service is paid above their market start rate, no matter where their salary began.
“This means baristas will make between $15 and $23/hour based on market and tenure, and we will maintain a 27% difference between Barista and [shift supervisor] start rates,” the letter explained.
Starbucks Offering $200 Referral Bonuses
As Starbucks keeps pushing to hire more hourly workers, it plans to keep its $200 referral bonus for any employee who refers someone who is hired and trained.
Improving Communication and Scheduling Issues
Williams said Starbucks continues to look at solutions to help employees communicate more effectively and quickly, especially with scheduling issues. The company letter said it Starbucks is currently testing an in-house app to “help partners communicate and make sure there is coverage for all available shifts, which should reduce the impact of call-outs.”
Other store enhancements include upgrading equipment, automated ordering, store redesigns and more.
Reaction of Starbucks Workers United to Announcement
Following the Oct. 27 announcement from Starbucks, the employees of Starbucks Workers United expressed some appreciation for the company’s efforts. However, the group still intends to push forward with its mission of organizing a union.
“Starbucks had 50 years to implement seniority pay,” the group said in a statement shared on its Twitter account. “They chose to do so right before the upcoming union vote. We look forward to making more improvements when we negotiate our contract.”
We are glad our campaign has already resulted in improvements for partners around the country. Yet Starbucks has had 50 yrs to make this change and only did so right before our union vote. Imagine what the next 50 yrs could be when we have a union & true partnership. pic.twitter.com/4OtGmkyXWB
— SBWorkersUnited (@SBWorkersUnited) October 28, 2021
“Imagine what the next 50 years could be when we have a union and a true partnership,” the tweet concluded.