Starbucks is raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour

Starbucks storefront with logo
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

Starbucks announced it will meet its goal to raise its pay rates for its U.S. employees to at least $15 an hour starting in 2022.

In an Oct. 27 letter to employees, the Seattle-based coffee giant said the minimum wage increase in its U.S stores is part of a multi-level plan for Starbucks to continue “investing in our success.”

“The changes announced by Starbucks are an effort to “enhance recruitment efforts in the challenging labor market” retailers face in the country, wrote Rossann Williams, Starbucks executive vice president,  North America.

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Increased pressure from Starbucks workers may also be driving these moves. In August, Starbucks employees in Buffalo, New York, announced they planned to form a labor union called Starbucks Workers United.

More than 40 employees sent a letter to Starbucks president and CEO Kevin Johnson to express concerns over “raising standards in the industry” and having their voices heard.

While Starbucks did not mention Starbucks Workers United specifically in its corporate letter on Oct. 27, it outlined the various ways the company plans to improve the employee experience.

“Your partner experience is our top priority,” Williams wrote in the letter.

Starbucks’ plan to invest in the company and its employees includes:

Raising Starbucks’ Minimum Wage to $15/hour

Back in November 2020, Starbucks announced it would start making moves to increase a barista’s minimum wage to $15/hour. The company now says it will meet this goal by summer 2022.

Williams noted any employee with two or more years of service is paid above their market start rate, no matter where their salary began.

“This means baristas will make between $15 and $23/hour based on market and tenure, and we will maintain a 27% difference between Barista and [shift supervisor] start rates,” the letter explained.

Starbucks Offering $200 Referral Bonuses

As Starbucks keeps pushing to hire more hourly workers, it plans to keep its $200 referral bonus for any employee who refers someone who is hired and trained.

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

Improving Communication and Scheduling Issues

Williams said Starbucks continues to look at solutions to help employees communicate more effectively and quickly, especially with scheduling issues. The company letter said it Starbucks is currently testing an in-house app to “help partners communicate and make sure there is coverage for all available shifts, which should reduce the impact of call-outs.”

Other store enhancements include upgrading equipment, automated ordering, store redesigns and more.

Reaction of Starbucks Workers United to Announcement

Following the Oct. 27 announcement from Starbucks, the employees of Starbucks Workers United expressed some appreciation for the company’s efforts. However, the group still intends to push forward with its mission of organizing a union.

“Starbucks had 50 years to implement seniority pay,” the group said in a statement shared on its Twitter account. “They chose to do so right before the upcoming union vote. We look forward to making more improvements when we negotiate our contract.”

“Imagine what the next 50 years could be when we have a union and a true partnership,” the tweet concluded.

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Marie Rossiter

Wife, Mom of 21 yo and 17 yo young women. Freelance Writer. Disney World Geek. Going after a 200-lb weight loss. Training for my first half marathon in 2020! Learn More.