How Starbucks is handling unions under new control

Starbucks working with unions to create contracts across all 234 unionized stores


Welcome to First Bite, a Nation’s Restaurant News podcast, your daily source of news from NRN hosted by Holly Petre.

Today, we’re talking about Starbucks’ latest move with unions.

After months of tense communications, Starbucks and SBWorkers United seem to finally be ready to negotiate union contracts. This week, SBWorkers United announced that it is drawing up a list of non-economic proposals for its parent company, while Starbucks published a press release on its union voting website “urging” workers to begin bargaining at the 234 unionized Starbucks stores.

As of September, 1.5% of Starbucks stores in the U.S. have unionized, and as we have previously covered, the initial flurry of unionization filings since the first stores organized at the end of 2021 have since quieted down. In the latest chapter of the Starbucks union saga, a federal judge ordered the reinstatement of two fired Starbucks workers in August. Starbucks, meanwhile, has pushed back hard against the union’s efforts and has accused the National Labor Relations Board of bias and tampering with elections.

Union negotiations will likely spill over into the transfer of power to incoming Starbucks CEO, Laxman Narasimhan, a former PepsiCo executive, who will be taking the helm from interim CEO Howard Schultz in April 2023. While Schultz has been known for his blatant anti-union stances, it is unknown whether that culture will continue with Narasimhan’s tenure.

Hear the full story from Joanna Fantozzi.

Plus, catch up on all the top news of the day with our daily news recap at the beginning of each episode.

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