United States: Starbucks will raise the wages of its non-unionized employees

Starbucks employees have just won a small battle. This Tuesday, the American coffee chain unveiled a series of measures for its employees, including wage increases, while the group is experiencing a unionization movement. The coffee chain has expanded the range of wage increases it had already announced previously: it plans to raise the minimum wage to 15 dollars (14 euros) per hour on August 1 in the United States.

The minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour at the federal level, although a handful of states, mostly Democrats, have already raised it to $15 an hour as demanded by the unions. This more ambitious increase in remuneration, coupled with a branch transformation plan, will benefit from an additional envelope of $200 million (bringing dedicated spending in 2022 to $1 billion).

These announcements come at a time when the American company is facing a wind of unionization unprecedented in its history: since the end of 2021, employees of 250 cafes in the chain have initiated the formation of a union, the Starbucks Workers United. About 47 trade union branches have already been created.

A movement against which the emblematic boss of the company delivered a plea: during the conference call presenting the results, Howard Schultz, who took over the reins at the beginning of April, explained at length why he was opposed to the union approach to the within the company. “These young people have valid concerns,” said the 60-year-old. They see this nascent union organizing movement as a possible solution. However, we have a very different approach and a much more positive vision for our company, based on listening, communication and collaboration”.

“Our values ​​are not and have never been the result of interference from an entity outside” the company, affirmed Howard Schultz, implying that the union aspiration had not been instilled by employees, but by persons outside the company.

Ability to tip when ordering

Starbucks also plans to introduce new employee-friendly initiatives in September, such as the ability to tip when ordering online or a revenue-sharing system, the company did not specify. working.

Howard Schultz indicated that these new provisions could only be applied in non-union cafes. These changes cannot effectively be applied unilaterally when a union exists, since negotiations must first be entered into. But the information, if it only recalled the texts in force, may have sounded like one more argument to dissuade Starbucks employees from organizing collectively.

On Tuesday, the American takeaway coffee giant also published its results for the first quarter of 2022, with revenue of $7.6 billion, up 14%. The sharp increase in its costs, whether for goods or wages, has significantly eroded margins, and net profit has increased, him, only 2%, to $ 674 million.

Starbucks expects disruption in China in the second quarter of 2022 and beyond, prompting it not to release guidance for the current fiscal year. To compensate, the chain was able to count on the dynamism of North America, where sales rose by 12%, thanks to price increases and better attendance.

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