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Starbucks Will Raise Wages for Thousands of Employees

Workers at company-owned stores in the U.S. will see pay increases of at least 5 percent

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In the wake of worker petitions demanding more hours at company-owned stores, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz took to Facebook Monday morning to announce a slew of changes to wages, benefits, and even the dress code.

In a letter posted to Facebook on Monday, Schultz wrote that, effective October 3, all "partners" (baristas) and store managers at company-owned stores in the U.S. will receive an increase in base pay of five percent or greater. According to the letter, the exact percentage will be determined by "geographic and market factors." (In other words, those working at better-performing stores will likely see the greatest bump in pay.)

Starbucks will also add a future annual enhancement to Bean Stock, its stock compensation program. "Specifically, we will be doubling the annual Bean Stock award for U.S. company-operated hourly store partners that reach two years of continuous service with the company," writes Schultz.

According to Schultz, a combination of the above changes will "result in compensation increases between five percent and 15 percent" for all U.S. company-operated store partners in good standing.

The benefit changes are a bit murkier. According to Schultz's letter, Starbucks will be evolving its online benefits platform "so partners may shop, compare and choose health coverage with the similar convenience and personalization people experience when they shop, compare and choose airlines and airfare." The company estimates that the changes could lead an annual savings of $800 for eligible employees.

One person who commented on Schultz's Facebook post (identifying herself as a nine-year employee) expressed concern that the benefits changes could be detrimental to those who are happy with their current plan. A Starbucks representative said the company would have "more to share" in the coming weeks.

Starbucks Facebook comment benefits

Schultz also announced that the company would be unveiling a new dress code in an open forum slated for the end of July. Though his letter didn't outline specifics, Schultz did write that the latest changes are "designed to work well with the green apron" while "providing more room for self-expression." Starbucks lifted its longstanding ban on visible employee tattoos back in 2014.

The changes come at an interesting time for the coffee behemoth. When Starbucks workers petitioned the company for more hours in June — arguing that the coffee chain's stores were understaffed — the company hit back against those claims, saying it had not instituted company-wide pay cuts, nor staffing cuts. One such petition, by a worker named Jaimie Prater, alleged that staffing cuts were killing employee morale and ruining Starbucks' "third place experience" vibe.

Schultz seemed to take those claims to heart, contacting Prater personally after the petition went viral (it has since garnered more than 12,800 signatures). In his Facebook letter, he addressed those claims, albeit not specifically mentioning Prater or his petition. Though he doesn't make any specific commitments in the letter, Schultz says the company will "work with every partner to ensure [they] have the hours [they] need."


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