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Starbucks retaliates against unionized workers, refuses to extend wage increases

VICTORIA, B.C. - Workers at the Douglas Street Starbucks location in Victoria are steaming mad as Starbucks Canada refuses to extend wage increases to unionized staff at the corporate drive-through store. The workers are represented by the United Steelworkers union (USW).

On May 3, 2022, Starbucks Canada announced investments for its “partners” (employees), including increased pay, benefits and training. In its release sent to all partners, 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 partners informing them they would not receive the partner investments 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.

“We are delighted to see Starbucks taking steps to address the inability of many to afford a comfortable life. We agree that our labour is worth more and that higher wages will help us live with dignity and create the best moments with our customers,” said the partners at the Douglas Street store.

“Starbucks assured us that they would respect our choice to unionize. We feel that not agreeing with the union to extend the wage increase to our store is not respecting our choice. We understand and agree that our collective bargaining agreement must be respected. That is why there is a clause to allow for bilateral agreements for things such as extending the wage increase to our store,” added the partners.

Starbucks has openly said that unions are unnecessary and has actively engaged in anti-union tactics to discourage partners from joining a union. Within the last two years, workers at more than 50 Starbucks stores in North America have voted to join a union, with hundreds of additional votes currently in progress.

“What we see from Starbucks is nothing more than retaliation on their workers for joining a union. Every worker has the right to join a union without the fear of retaliation or harassment from their employer,” said Scott Lunny, USW Western Canada Director.

“There are zero reasons for these investments not to be extended to our members at the Douglas Street store in Victoria. We have language in the collective agreement, negotiated by both parties, that allows for changes deemed necessary by mutual agreement of the employer and the union, at any time, during the life of the agreement.”

The USW requested Starbucks Canada to mutually agree to extend the partner investments to the Douglas Street workers, and the request was denied.

“We are calling on Starbucks to do what’s right and extend the partner investments and wage increases to the unionized store. Our union is ready to meet with Starbucks management to get this dealt with in a fair and equitable way. We know our members work as hard and contribute as much as any other partner in any other store across Canada and they should be treated with the respect they deserve,” added Lunny.

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.

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For further information:

Scott Lunny, USW Western Canada Director, slunny@usw.ca, 604-329-5308
Brett Barden, USW Communications, bbarden@usw.ca, 604-445-6956

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416-894-7118

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