Starbucks is, without a doubt, one of the most socially outspoken corporations in America with the possible exception of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream. Starbucks, however, has a much larger footprint and employs far more people, so you would think that if any company would be an example of how to treat its employees, it would be Starbucks.
Well, here is a newsflash you likely did not see coming, they do treat their employees well.
Their national average for Baristas is $11.55. That beats McDonalds $10.52 and Burger King's $10.11 by at least $1 per hour or approximately $2,080.00 per year. They also have benefits for both full time and part time workers including health and life insurance, vacation and holidays, parental leave, 401(k), stock incentive and bonus programs, and a contract to get employees educated through Arizona State University.
Gee, it sounds like they've gone out of their way for their employees to me, yet they just lost a lawsuit against them for retaliation against employees trying to form a union (which they are appealing), and now they face another unionized vote in the Buffalo, NY area.
What are those voting for the union demanding?
They want more employees because they feel that the stores are understaffed, they want more stable hours because that understaffing has causing unpredictability when someone calls out, and they want more training. That last one is serious though, do not laugh, they are quite serious. I mean, it requires serious and intense training to make coffee.
All joking aside, I am sure that the training could be better, almost any company's employees would tell you that their company needs better training.
Yet here is what these people do not seem to understand...
Your "good pay" and "benefits package?" That is why you do not have more employees working along side you. They cannot afford to employ as many people and still offer you that same working incentive. More money per employee means less employees. It is basic math, but they seem to misunderstand it anyway.
So, let us assume that they do unionize, and let us assume that it does in fact stay limited to the Buffalo area. They are not likely to get what they want, which eventually means a strike. This will push the company to re-evaluate its presence in the areas where there is a union.
The most common way of dealing with a union is to just shut it down. The company would likely save money by closing stores as it would likely lose money at any of the locations in which they have to cave in to unionized demands.
So these very same people could find themselves out of a job, and then having to find an even worse job, with less pay and worse benefits, because they want to have their cake and eat it too. They want the better pay and benefits, but they do not want to have to work harder for it.
"Life doesn't work that way, kid, it just don't" to quote a line from All Dogs Go To Heaven.
This is a classic example of not realizing how good you have it until it is taken away from you.
You get angry at your job, you FEEL exploited because "someone else has it better/easier."
So you make unreasonable demands and then you find yourself out on your ear. The only thing that is humorous about this is that they will also turn around and blame the company for their situation, and not their demands.
I mean, I do not like Starbucks, at all. I do not even like coffee, but I cannot turn a blind eye to this one. This company DOES put its money where its mouth is when it comes to how they treat their line employees. I bet a lot of other fast food employees would love to have a pay and benefits package like this. As much as I am loathe to defend them, in this they are not wrong.
Yet there is always hope in everything is there not?
My sincerest hope in all of this is that Starbucks comes to understand that all of their "social good" stances are the same stances that drive things like this. Perhaps they will learn that they should stick to coffee and not politics because it will come back to bite them.
I mean, think about it, their company base in almost exclusively liberal anymore, and those liberals will side with the employees. In a strike scenario, Starbucks stands to lose its shirt because no conservatives are coming to their rescue and forming hour long lines to keep them open like they did for Chic-Fil-A when it faced national boycotts and city bans.
They had better consider this carefully, because they appear to be between a rock and a hard place.
It could not have happened to a better company.