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United Steelworkers Files Unfair Labour Practice Complaint Against Starbucks

VICTORIA, British Columbia--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The United Steelworkers union (USW) has filed with the B.C. Labour Relations Board an unfair labour practice complaint against Starbucks after the coffee giant refused to extend wage increases to the unionized staff at the corporate drive-through store.

“Our complaint concerns Starbucks’ decision to implement significant wage increases for employees at its non-union stores in Canada, but not for those at its sole unionized store, in an effort to compel its unionized employees to cease to be members of the union,” said Scott Lunny, USW Western Canada Director. “This intimidating and coercive conduct arises from the significant anti-union behaviour from Starbucks and represents an interference with the administration of a trade union contrary to the Labour Code.”

On May 3, 2022, Starbucks Canada announced investments for its “partners” (employees), including increased pay, benefits and training. In its release sent to all employees, Lori Digulla, Starbucks senior vice-president and general manager, said there would be increased pay for all retail partners in every province and every role beginning this summer. That was quickly followed up with an email to Douglas Street employees informing them they would not receive the “partner investments” (wage increases) as they were a unionized store.

In a letter to Digulla, workers expressed their disappointment that Starbucks was refusing to include the partners of the unionized store and called on the coffee giant to do the right thing by extending the wage increases to them.

“During bargaining and mediation, the most contentious issue was employee wage rates. We negotiated specific language in the collective agreement that allows for changes deemed necessary by mutual agreement of the employer and the union, at any time, during the life of the agreement. After the Digulla letter was sent out to all employees, the union requested Starbucks to mutually agree to extend the wage increases to the Douglas Street workers, and the request was denied,” said Lunny.

Starbucks has openly said that unions are unnecessary and has actively engaged in anti-union tactics to discourage partners from joining a union.

“We are calling on Starbucks to do what’s right and extend the wage increases to the unionized store. We know our members work as hard and contribute as much as any other partner in any other store and they should be treated with the respect they deserve,” added Lunny.

The USW is inviting the public and Starbucks partners to show their support for unionized workers who deserve better. The union has launched an online campaign at where you can use the form to send a message directly to Starbucks management, calling on them to extend the wage increases to unionized workers.

The USW represents 225,000 members in nearly every economic sector across Canada and is the largest private-sector union in North America, with 850,000 members in Canada, the United States and the Caribbean.

Each year, thousands of workers choose to join the USW because of our strong track record in creating healthier, safer and more respectful workplaces and negotiating better working conditions and fairer compensation – including good wages, benefits and pensions.

Source: United Steelworkers

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