Starbucks unionizing efforts grow, but what is wrong with the company?

Over 200 stores in 29 states have filed a petition to unionize

There is a growing movement to unionize Starbucks coffee shops around the nation despite what the company deems robust employee benefits among other perks. 

So what is it about Starbucks that is pushing over 200 stores in 29 states to file a petition to unionize with the National Labor Relations Board? 

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The effort is being led by a group called the Starbucks Workers United, which claims that "Starbucks should be a workplace where all workers have a democratic voice."  

"Starbucks calls us ‘partners,’ yet we don’t have a real voice in the company," The Starbucks Workers United Organizing Committee told FOX Business Tuesday. "We’re organizing to create a true partnership with Starbucks and create a democratic workplace, so we can ultimately fight to make Starbucks a better company and better place to work."

Employees who favor unionizing have previously said they want more input, through collective bargaining, on pay, working conditions and store operations.  


However, Starbucks' website says the coffee giant offers "a wide range of partner benefits" that allows employees "to choose the plans and programs that best support your needs and goals." 

Starbucks union

Pro-union pins sit on a table during a watch party for Starbucks' employees union election, Dec. 9, 2021, in Buffalo, New York. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex, File / AP Newsroom)

Here is a breakdown of some of what Starbucks offers employees. 

Health coverage: 

Employees can choose from multiple coverage levels for medical, dental and vision plans in addition to Health Care and Dependent Care reimbursement accounts, life insurance, disability and accident coverage.

As part of this coverage, Starbucks offers "comprehensive" transgender medical benefits. The company said it partnered with the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) "to create a transgender medical policy that is inclusive of medical services that most companies have historically considered cosmetic." 

Stock and savings: 

Starbucks offers a 401(k) retirement plan, including a company match. It also offers discounted company stock and allows employees to participate in its equity reward program, Bean Stock.

"Eligible partners are granted Bean Stock Restricted Stock Units (RSUs), which turn into shares of Starbucks stock over a two-year period," according to the company. 

Paid time off: 

Retail and non-retail employees are eligible for paid vacation days as well as employee and family sick time. Salaried or non-retail employees receive two personal days per year. 

The company also observes these paid holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Juneteenth, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. 



Starbucks' retail and non-retail employees are eligible for paid vacation days as well as employee and family sick time. (Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Retail hourly employees are paid 1.5 times their base hourly rate of pay for hours worked on those holidays.

Parental leave: 

Eligible employees can get time off and pay replacement through parental leave. The company also offers a Family Expansion Reimbursement of up to $10,000 per adoption, surrogacy or intrauterine insemination for eligible employees. 

The amount of paid time off will differ depending upon an employee's position but "any paid time will be paid at 100% of your average pay," according to Starbucks. 

All hourly, shift managers and retail management partners will get six weeks of paid leave and up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.

Any non-retail employee will get up to 12 weeks of paid leave and birth parents will be eligible for six to eight weeks of additional paid leave. 


Starbucks will cover the full cost of tuition for eligible employees to earn a bachelor's degree with Arizona State University’s online degree programs.

Mental health: 

Employees will get a "personalized, confidential, evidence-based mental health care for a wide range of needs, from mild to complex," according to the company.

This includes 20 free in-person or video sessions each fiscal year for eligible family members. 

Commuter benefit: 

Starbucks assists with work-related commuter expenses such as offering transit passes funded by pretax payroll deductions.

Partner Assistance:

The Caring Unites Partners (CUP) Fund is set up to help Starbucks employees facing a financial crisis due to a variety of extreme circumstances.