A coalition of prominent unions has introduced three nominees for the board of directors at Starbucks. The move comes as the coffee giant faces mounting pressure to improve the pay and working conditions of its employees.
The Strategic Organizing Center, a collective of unions representing more than 2 million members, including the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which represents members of Starbucks Workers United, disclosed the candidates in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. These individuals will be up for election at Starbucks’ upcoming 2024 annual shareholders meeting.
According to the Strategic Organizing Center, change is necessary at the board level to help Starbucks effectively address the demands presented by the union instead of entering into confrontations with union members. The labor group stressed the importance of the board fulfilling its fiduciary duties to investors and argued that the current approach poses risks and has led to what they deem as a glaring example of mismanagement of human capital within corporate America.
The Strategic Organizing Center did not provide additional comments at this time.
Starbucks: Commitment to Workers and Recent Challenges
Starbucks, the popular cafe chain, has addressed recent events regarding its board nominations and highlighted its ongoing efforts to enhance the experience of its workers. The company emphasized that it has dedicated nearly $9 billion in investments over the past three years towards improving worker satisfaction and the overall store experience. These investments encompass various areas such as wage increases, comprehensive training programs, implementation of innovative equipment and technology.
The combination of these investments, along with higher wages and extended operating hours, has yielded significant results for Starbucks. The company has observed a considerable decrease in turnover rates, which currently stand below the levels seen before the pandemic. Furthermore, Starbucks proudly boasts an increase of nearly 50% in hourly total cash compensation since fiscal year 2020.
Despite these endeavors, Starbucks has been faced with challenges in the form of strikes and walkouts initiated by union members. These protests are primarily centered around demands for better pay, affordable healthcare options, and improved working conditions. Moreover, Starbucks is currently dealing with allegations of unfair labor practices from regional offices of the National Labor Relations Board, an agency responsible for protecting the rights of workers to form unions. Starbucks strongly contests these allegations, asserting that they lack merit or are unfounded.
The Strategic Organizing Center has put forth its nominees for Starbucks’ board positions. The individuals nominated include Maria Echaveste, an individual highly experienced in both senior White House roles and corporate law; Joshua Gotbaum, an expert in corporate governance and change management; and Wilma Liebman, well-versed in labor management, employee relations, wage negotiations, public policy, and law.
Despite recent challenges and controversies, Starbucks continues to thrive in the stock market. As of Wednesday, shares of Starbucks have risen by 0.2% to reach $103.93. Overall, the company’s stock has witnessed a positive growth of 4.8% throughout the year.
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