Starbucks Just Announced Another Wage Increase For Employees

On Wednesday, Starbucks announced yet another wage increase for its employees. The Associated Press reports that by the summer of 2022 the new average pay will range from $15 per hour to $23 per hour. Further incentives are teased as workers who have been with the company for at least two years could receive a 5% raise in January 2022 while those who have been employed by the coffee giant for 5 years could see a 10% increase.

press release issued by Starbucks explains that the wage hike, which will make the average hourly salary of a barista nearly $17 per hour, is part of their investment into the company. They will institute a $200 referral program, rethink how the training program works, and attempt smaller tweaks like a shift app.

This is actually the third time in 24 months that Starbucks has raised the amount it's paying its workers. No doubt, the company would like to have the image that this is the result of a long term plan to bring greater dignity to those filling coffee cups. However, as a previous announcement came out back in December of 2020, the move reads more as a series of decisions to address lingering problems within the company.

Starbucks workers are trying to unionize

In the piece published by the Associated Press, more attention is given to the context of the pay rise than the pay rise itself. While Starbucks has decided to push their average pay above what many want as the minimum wage, workers at outlets in Buffalo, New York want to unionize.

Michelle Eisen, who is hard at work on the unionization effort, pointed out to the Associated Press that Starbucks had years to enact any of these proposals and that their decision to do so while a union's starting to form is interesting timing. Meanwhile, Starbucks denied there was any connection.

However, as Nation's Restaurant News shared, Starbucks did weigh in on the issue, specifically asking their workers to vote against the effort in a letter. "The operational challenges like staffing, training, callouts or repairing equipment can only be solved by us, from within Starbucks," Rossann Williams, president of Starbucks North America, wrote to the workers. "So, we are asking partners to vote no to a union—not because we're opposed to unions but because we believe we will best enhance our partnership and advance the operational changes together in a direct partnership." Why they could not work in a direct partnership with an organized group of their "partners" was left unstated and unexplained.