Starbucks Workers Union Releases Critical Report on Starbucks


Contact: Sarah Madden,

August 12, 2014

Starbucks Workers Union Releases Critical Report on Starbucks

Company Enriches Shareholders While Maintaining Inadequate Working Conditions

NEW YORK, NY – The Industrial Workers of the World, Starbucks Workers Union released a report today, “Low Wages and Grande Profits at Starbucks” with an analysis of company performance over the last decade. The report describes how Starbucks has dramatically improved profitability at the company since the Great Recession of 2008-2009, and that the company has enriched shareholders at the expense of its nearly 200,000 workers.

The report finds that “an analysis of company performance and staffing before and after the Great Recession of 2008-2009 shows that the stores are now staffed at a lower level, workers are working harder, and they are bringing in much more profit for the company. Instead of funding a living wage for workers, the company has transferred almost $4 billion to shareholders in the past few years, equivalent to over $3 per hour for every worker at the company.”

At a time when retail and fast food workers are organizing for higher wages and the right to organize a union, the working conditions at Starbucks remain inadequate for its “partners” to support a family. Despite the company’s reputation for social responsibility, barista wages are often below the $9.00/hour national median wage. Many workers also lack access to affordable health care, with less than half of the workers participating in the company health plan. There is also erratic scheduling and inadequate hours, with many workers assigned only 20-30 hours per week.

The report calls on the company to compensate its workers with a living wage, ensure better store staffing and scheduling, and respect the workers’ rights to organize a union. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has expressed support for a federal minimum wage increase, but he has the ability to raise wages dramatically for workers at the company now.

Former Starbucks workers Sarah Madden states “The wages and hours at Starbucks result in poverty level compensation, and consistent and stable scheduling is important for workers. Companies like Starbucks claim to offer ’flexible scheduling’ as a benefit of employment. This means workers are given 7 to 1 day notice for their work times and hours vary week to week, making it nearly impossible to schedule doctor’s appointments, plan for childcare, get and keep a second job or internship and maintain a budget.”

The report can be found here.

Portland Wobbly Study Circle

A Portland Wobbly Study Circle recently formed as a project of the Education & Outreach Committee. About half a dozen wobblies will soon begin to read and meet a couple of times per month. The first book scheduled, Detroit, I Do Mind Dying: A Study in Urban Revolution, is directly related to the film shown last month about the radical union among African-American autoworkers during the ’70s (Finally Got the News). The study circle will continue in the future with other books on topics of mutual interest chosen by the group. This project is open to any wobbly who wants to drop in, and it aims to be open to equal participation. There is a blog for the meeting schedule and to facilitate further discussion beyond the meetings online at: PDX Wobbly Study Circle.

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