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Starbucks and SBWorkers United have reached a historic agreement.

Starbucks and Starbucks Workers United union begin collective bargaining process

Starbucks and SBWorkers United jointly announced a renewed commitment to a better relationship; union members now get credit card tipping benefits

After more than two years of clashes both inside and outside the courtroom, Starbucks and its growing group of unionized stores represented by Starbucks Workers United, have agreed to a better relationship moving forward and to start the collective bargaining process in earnest. As a show of good faith, Starbucks has committed to introducing credit card tipping and other benefits from May 2022 to unionized stores — benefits that the company had previously withheld claiming that changes to an employment contract cannot be made without a collective bargaining agreement.

“Starbucks and Workers United have agreed to begin discussions on a foundational framework designed to achieve both collective bargaining agreements for represented stores and partners, and the resolution of litigation between the union and the company,” Starbucks and Workers United said in a joint statement. “While there is important work ahead, coming together to work on this framework represents an important step forward and is a clear demonstration of a shared commitment to working collaboratively on behalf of partners.”

Starbucks and SBWorkers United first announced that they would begin contract negotiations in Sept. 2022, but discussions did not get very far as by April 2023, the National Labor Relations Board claimed that Starbucks had been “failing and refusing” to bargain with the union. Among other issues, the union wanted to negotiate in hybrid meetings over Zoom, which Starbucks does not feel comfortable with – an issue that has come up multiple times and brought negotiations to a standstill in many instances.

At the end of 2023, Starbucks released the results of an independent audit, which although it did not find instances of purposeful union-busting, did contend that mistakes were made without clear governance and without “careful respect for rights in limitations.” Then, earlier this month, SBWorkers United organized a record 21 stores in one day — especially notable after unionization votes slowed following the first flurry of activity in 2021 and 2022.

In the announcement of their commitment to collective bargaining, Starbucks emphasized how important all workers (including unionized ones) are to the company:

“Since Laxman became CEO, he’s spent time in our stores, listening to, and learning from, partners” Sara Kelly, executive vice president and chief partner officer of Starbucks, said. “He’s been clear that we are deeply committed to delivering on our partner promise and to restitching the fabric of the green apron for all partners at Starbucks.”

Contact Joanna at [email protected]

TAGS: Workforce
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