Starbucks Employees Seeking Union Representation

Key Takeaways:

  • Starbucks employees are unionizing for better pay, training, and working conditions.
  • Employees feel the pandemic put a strain on them. While many other people were off of work, they were working overtime to satisfy customer needs.
  • The company reported very profitable 3Q earnings. Employees see an imbalance between corporate profits and how they are being treated.
Starbucks Employees Seeking Union Representation
Starbucks employees in Buffalo, New York seek union representation. Image source: Asael Peña

Starbucks employees are unionizing at a record pace. Currently, only 9% of all American workers are union members. Unions have not received this much attention since the Great Depression. Unionization is getting attention again, and companies like Starbucks who never imagined this was a possibility, are facing the prospects of worker negotiations.

As of today, more than 300 Starbucks stores have had union elections – last year at this same time the number was zero.

Starbucks union voting began last December in Buffalo, New York. Workers voted 19 to 8 to join the Workers United union. Workers United has a $1 million fund to support Starbucks employees who lose wages due to union strikes. After the Buffalo store, the snowball started going downhill fast and getting bigger. Within six weeks, twenty more Starbucks stores filed for union representation.

A Starbucks location in the very first city the company began, Seattle, Washington, also voted to unionize.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, is very much against unionizing as would be expected. CNBC spoke with employees about why they desire to unionize. One employee, Laura Garza, said, “It has to do with the pandemic.” She added, “It made a lot of workers that continued to work during the pandemic re-evaluate what is most important to them. And honestly, it has to go to better pay, livable wage for everybody.”

Starbucks Employees Seeking Union Representation, Starbucks Employees Seeking Union Representation

Starbucks 3rd quarter earnings handily beat Wall Street estimates:

Starbucks Employees Seeking Union Representation, Starbucks Employees Seeking Union Representation

Starbucks most recent earnings handily beat Wall Street estimates. Source: Nasdaq

If the company is doing so well financially, why are so many employees seeking out unions? Employees, or as Starbucks refers to them, “partners,” feel poorly treated, underpaid, and say that training is inadequate. To some extent, the pandemic comments from many employees has truth to it. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Starbucks was open for business and was considered an essential place of business.

While scores of employees were off of work, baristas everywhere felt vulnerable and to some extent, mistreated. Employees realized during the pandemic that every job counts, whether blue or white collar.

The next earnings release for Starbucks is expected on October 27th. As of today, analysts expect a $0.01 beat. Last quarter, the company surpassed expectations by a whopping 9.09%.

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Starbucks Employees Seeking Union Representation, Starbucks Employees Seeking Union Representation

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