Starbucks raising US workers' pay as union effort looms

Starbucks is raising its U.S. employees’ pay and making other changes to improve working conditions in its stores

Starbucks said Wednesday it is raising its U.S. employees’ pay and making other changes to improve working conditions in its stores.

The Seattle-based coffee giant said all of its U.S. workers will earn at least $15 — and up to $23 — per hour by next summer. In late January, employees with two or more years of service will get a 5% raise, while those with five or more years of service could receive up to a 10% raise. Workers can also get a $200 recruitment bonus to help attract new employees.

The action comes amid some worker unrest for the company. Employees at three Starbucks stores in Buffalo, New York, are trying to form a union to give them greater leverage on issues like understaffing of stores and worker training. The group, Starbucks Workers United, has filed petitions with the National Labor Relations Board seeking union votes.

Starbucks, which has no unions at its 8,000 company-owned stores in the U.S., opposes that effort. The company has said it respects workers’ right to organize but doesn’t believe a union is necessary.

On Wednesday, Starbucks said it’s redesigning and updating its training guide and adding more training time for workers. It said it also plans to test an app that will let workers sign up for available shifts that fit their schedule.

The company said it’s also trying ways to streamline prep areas and reduce complexity, including testing new cold beverage stations in its stores.

A message seeking comment about Starbucks’ wage announcement and other actions was left Wednesday with Starbucks Workers United.