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.

Fellow Worker Hannah’s Labor Victory Anniversary!

  • Celebrate and educate from 9-11am
  • Friday, December 16th
  • At Starbucks on NE 102nd & Halsey

It’s been one year since Hannah was fired from Starbucks and denied unemployment. Hannah filed an Unfair Labor Practice lawsuit which was determined to have merit and sufficient evidence of a WRONGLY TERMINATED EMPLOYEE. She settled out of court, which meant that the concerted activity charge was dropped, and that Starbucks was no longer required to post notice of the charges in stores.

Hannah was a Starbucks worker between licensed and corporate stores for 5 years as a ‘shift lead,’ and in that role supervised Health & Safety standards. She discovered that the first aid kit didn’t have its mandatory bandages, and also learned that fellow coworkers were not receiving proper legally required breaks. She voiced these safety and legal concerns to management.

December 15, 2010: With no prior verbal or written warning, she was pulled aside by her manager and told she was being investigated for ‘fraud’ and suspended ‘until further notice.’ A short day later Hannah was fired via telephone and told to call 1-800-STARBUC if she had questions.

January 2011: Hannah files for unemployment, is denied, appeals, and is denied again.

February 2011: Hannah files an Unfair Labor Practice lawsuit, which is reviewed by the National Labor Relations Board, and is determined to have merit and sufficient evidence of a wrongly terminated employee acting in legal concerted activity.

June 2011: Starbucks settles out of court with Hannah to drop the concerted activity charge and pay some lost back wages. However, due to settling with the company, the charge would no longer be required to be posted and read aloud in the stores.

JOIN US in front of the Starbucks where Hannah worked to let everyone know what happened, and that it is LEGAL to discuss workplace issues with coworkers.

Know your rights! Know what to do and who to contact when you are bullied on the job!

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