Unionization Saga at Starbucks

Unionization Saga at Starbucks
Case Code: HROB240
Case Length: 10 Pages
Period: 2020-2022
Pub Date: 2023
Teaching Note: Available
Price: Rs.300
Organization: Starbucks Corporation
Industry: Diversified
Countries: United States
Themes: Collective Bargaining, Crisis Management & Conflict, Employee Benefits,Compensation Policy
Unionization Saga at Starbucks
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts


Need to Unionize at Starbucks

The Seattle, US-based Starbucks coffee company was established in 1971 by Gerald Baldwin, Gordon Bowker, and Zev Siegl. As of April 2022, Starbucks had about 34,000 stores with 400,000 employees (partners) around the world serving about 100 million customers a month. Stores in the US and China comprised 61 percent of Starbucks’ global portfolio with 15,544 stores in the US and 5,654 stores in China. Starbucks in the US alone had more than 240,000 partners..

Starbucks Response to Partner Grievances

Starbucks denied all the allegations made by its partners and stressed that it did not want to work with partners through a third party across a negotiating table. “Across the negotiating table, we’ll hear a shared voice, mediated through a third-party – one who is coming to know who we are and how we operate for the first time..

Employee Allegations Continue

Workers at Starbucks United alleged that the enhanced benefits offered were in response to the union drive. They held 55 different strikes in 17 states in the US in the first half of 2022 over the company’s opposition to unionization. Workers alleged that the company fired more than 75 employees in retaliation for union organizing in 2022..

What next?

In addition to the billion dollar investment, Starbucks, on September 13, 2022, introduced its ‘Reinvention Plan’ that highlighted decisive actions and targeted investments in partners, customers, and stores. In connection with its Reinvention Plan, Starbucks planned to have 45,000 stores by the end of 2025, and believed that it was well on track to reach approximately 55,000 stores globally by 2030. It expected its global revenue growth to be between 10 and 12 percent annually for fiscal 2023 to fiscal 2025..


Exhibit I: Unionization Efforts (December to May 2022)
Exhibit II: Starbuck Stock (December to May 2022)
Exhibit III: Starbucks Union Election Stats (till November 30 2022)

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