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Starbucks offers its non-union workers more benefits

The coffee giant will provide savings assistance and student loan management tools. The benefits follow increased worker pay at non-union stores last month.
Starbucks benefits
Starbucks is adding new employee benefits, including a tool to encourage savings and another on student loan management. / Photograph: Shutterstock.

Starbucks is offering a new carrot to its non-union workforce as it works to stem the labor movement within its ranks: Savings and loan management benefits.

The coffee giant, which has been making massive changes to its business in recent months from new worker benefits and pay packages to an overhauled management team, said the benefits would improve workers’ financial stability.

They follow pay increases given to workers in non-union stores, to an average of nearly $17 an hour, early last month. The company has said it has invested $1 billion this fiscal year on new pay and benefits packages.

“We’ve heard from our partners and know that pressures of inflation, in addition to debt and savings are weighing heavily on them,” Ron Crawford, SVP of total rewards at the Seattle-based company, said in a statement.

Starbucks is working with the financial firm Fidelity on My Starbucks Savings, which is designed to help workers save money. Employees will be able to contribute a portion of their after-tax pay into a personal savings account. To incentivize such savings, the company will contribute $25 and $50 credits, up to $250 per worker.

The company said it is also creating a student loan management benefit through Tuition.io. The benefit will help workers manage student loan payments, including new tools, resources and individual coaches. There are also loan repayment and refinancing options.

The benefit could also include income-based repayment and refinancing options and how to best finance education.

Starbucks has faced a substantial labor push around the country, though at least some analysts suggest that the effort has slowed down since the company bolstered pay for non-union workers last month.

Peter Saleh, an analyst with BTIG, said in a note last month that union filings were at their lowest level all year in August. Employees at more than 200 restaurants have voted to form unions. “We believe the recent wage hikes … are having an adverse effect on the labor unions,” he wrote.

The new benefits come on the eve of Starbucks’ Investor Day, when it’s expected to announce a broad set of changes to operations, relationships with its workers and new programs. The company has already announced an expansion of its Starbucks Rewards loyalty program into “Web 3,” giving customers the ability to purchase non-fungible tokens or NFTs, that can be used for various rewards.

The company has also named Laxman Narasimhan to be the company’s next CEO. Narasimhan will start at Starbucks Oct. 1 and will work under Interim CEO Howard Schultz through next April, when he takes over the full-time job.

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