Starbucks workers and store managers at company units across the U.S. will receive a 5-percent pay increase on Oct. 3, the Seattle-based company said Monday.
Starbucks has about 7,600 company units domestically.
In addition, Starbucks will be doubling the annual Bean Stock award for employees eligible for the stock plan that reach two years of continuous service to the company, the chain said in a letter to employees from chair and CEO Howard Schultz, increasing some workers’ pay up to 15 percent.
The company is also evolving its benefits program to allow employees to shop, compare and choose health coverage with the same convenience as searching for the best deal on airfare, which Schultz said could save eligible workers as much as $800 annually for individuals, and $2,600 annually for families, by moving to a plan that better meets their needs.
“In simple terms, the new health care options will allow partners to only pay for the coverage they want and will actually use,” said Schultz.
The moves comes after Starbucks reportedly last week faced criticism from its own employees that the coffee chain had cut work hours to the point of “gross unemployment” in an online petition by barista Jaime Prater.
Wall Street analyst Mark Kalinowski of Nomura Securities International Inc. noted in a report Monday that Starbucks may have started managing labor hours more assertively in April, with some media outlets citing slowing sales.
In the letter to workers on Monday, Schultz addressed the scheduling issue, saying, “Just as some of our customers’ routines change during the summer, so too do some of yours.”
The company has made progress over the years in providing more stability and consistency in scheduling and field leaders are committed to meeting scheduling needs, he said, especially when it comes to ensuring benefits eligibility.
“To that end, please know that you have my personal commitment that we will work with every partner to ensure you have the hours you need,” said Schultz.
Schultz also said changes are coming to dress code requirements during the Partner Open Forum scheduled for later this month. The changes will allow for more self-expression, he said, allowing workers to wear items from their own wardrobe under their green aprons.
In the letter, Schultz presented the announcement as an effort to build a foundation of trust between the company and its workers, especially at a time when “trust in America may seem to be fraying,” he said, referring to violence in the national headlines last week.
“Striking the delicate balance between profit and social conscience is a responsibility I take personally,” said Schultz. “Every day, I strive to build the kind of company that my father never had a chance to work for, one that not only cares for its people, but gives them opportunities to be their best selves.”
The world around us is increasingly fragile, he wrote. “But our commitment to you is not. We are in this together, and honoring your needs is essential to Starbucks’ success.”
Update: July 11, 2016 This story has been updated to clarify that these worker changes apply only to Starbucks' U.S. company-owned locations.