Starbucks to Restart Contract Talks With Workers United Union After 2-Year Impasse

By Trisha Andrada

Feb 28, 2024 05:43 AM EST

Starbucks and Workers United, the union representing about 400 outlets in the United States, announced on Tuesday, Feb. 27, that talks will begin after a two-and-a-half-year impasse.

The press release cites a "foundational framework" to assist in the negotiation of labor agreements with unionized employees and the resolution of any pending complaints. This decision occurred last week at a mediation session about trademark and intellectual property disputes.

"Starbucks and Workers United have a shared commitment to establishing a positive relationship in the interests of Starbucks partners," the coffee shop chain said, echoing a remark made by Workers United in its own release.

(Photo : Bruce Bennett / Getty Images)
A general view of a Starbucks store on September 15, 2022 in Plainview, New York, United States.

May 2022 Benefits

According to CBS News, Starbucks made a significant compromise by agreeing to grant the approximately 10,000 employees working in unionized stores the same salary hikes and benefits as non-unionized staff received beginning in May 2022. This includes the ability for customers to add a tip when paying with a credit card.

Nearly 400 company-owned Starbucks locations throughout the US have had union organizing drives, but the Seattle-based giant has yet to strike a labor deal with any of them.

Also Read: Starbucks Accused of 'Flawed' Union Strategy by Labor Coalition

Prolonged Disagreement

Disputes between the two parties have persisted for some time.

More than a hundred complaints have been filed against Starbucks by regional offices of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for unfair labor practices, and the company has been compelled to reinstate employees who were dismissed for spearheading organizing efforts at local locations. The refusal to negotiate and the withholding of wage hikes and other advantages enjoyed by other workers from unionized stores are examples of these complaints.

The standoff between Starbucks and its union members ended in December 2023, with the company signaling its intention to approve contracts this year.

Also Read: McDonald's, Starbucks Experience Sales Decline as Israel-Hamas Conflict Drags On

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