In a move to ensure their employees are as safe and healthy as possible, Starbucks has updated its medical coverage. The company was among many that made the move to help their employees after the Supreme Court recently overturned Roe v Wade decision last week.
The company’s statement gave workers a reason to celebrate but it did not indicate whether or not unionized locations would be given any benefit from the update, confusing and angering some employees.
Sara Kelly, who became the acting executive vice president of Starbucks’ Partner Resources, said that federal labor laws require collective bargaining to determine workers’ wages and benefits.
“This means Starbucks cannot make promises about any benefits for workers currently represented by unions,” she explained.
In Knoxville, Tennessee, barista Maggie Carter told Bon Appétit that she is still unsure about the availability of the new benefit.
Starbucks previously announced their plan for coverage in May, but Carter hasn’t heard back from her manager even though she asked about it that month.
With the information keeping unionized employees in the dark, Carter believes it is a strategy from the company to confuse and intimidate the unionized groups.
“This shows what Starbucks is willing to leverage in this fight,” said the barista. “It makes me feel disgusted that they’d dangle abortion over people’s heads as if it’s a cat toy when women are literally losing their rights to bodily autonomy. It just feels dystopian.”
The company confirmed that this benefit will be available to all employees, including those in unionized stores, through a spokesperson.
“Because this is an expansion of existing benefits, if you are a Starbucks partner with Starbucks healthcare benefits, the travel expense cost for these kinds of medical procedures is covered, regardless of union status,” the spokesperson said.
Dr. Rebecca Givan expressed concern over a clarification issued by Starbucks regarding their statement to unionized employees, warning that it may lead to more confusion than answers being given and requested further details from the company on what they meant when making this announcement public.
“I think they’re trying to burnish their progressive reputation while scaring their employees away from unionizing by suggesting that none of their benefits are secure,” said Givan, who is not associated with the company’s unionization process.
As the labor movement continues to grow in America, more and more companies are seeing their employees organizing. This includes big names like Starbucks , Amazon , Apple.
In response to these efforts, Starbucks has been particularly vocal against the employees who want nothing more than fair treatment and reasonable wages for themselves. They suggest that instead of forming organizations, they should speak directly with management.