Numerous unionized Starbucks baristas from the Pacific Northwest converged on a hotel in Seattle on Wednesday to present Starbucks lawyers with a set of suggestions they had been looking into and debating for more than six months.
The federal minimum wage is $20 per hour. A 37-hour week guarantee for full-time employees. A 100 percent employer-sponsored health insurance plan for full-time and part-time employees. Every establishment accepts credit cards as tips.
The bargaining session lasted nearly four hours, which was far longer than any of the roughly 90 other meetings held since last October. But, workers were unable to provide management with all of their demands before Starbucks’ legal team packed up and left.
The demands of Starbucks Workers United come at a time when the mega-coffee chain’s working conditions are receiving more attention than ever. Starbucks had its annual shareholder meeting Thursday, when investors voted on whether to request an independent assessment of the company’s compliance to international labor standards. (The outcomes will be made public in the following days.) Employees at approximately 100 outlets in 40 locations throughout the country went on strike on Wednesday in a signal to the company’s new CEO, Laxman Narasimhan, who initiated the walkout this week started.
Two weeks earlier than anticipated, company founder Howard Schultz resigned from his position as CEO on Monday, but he still intends to testify before Congress next week regarding his labor policies.
Several participants think that obtaining significant discounts from Starbucks not only transform the lives of thousands of Starbucks workers, but also raise standards for fast food and other low-wage workers across the country. But while the union and Starbucks continue to bicker over the terms of the bargaining, the company is bickering unionizing in its shops, it is not clear if a deal is within reach.