Reaffirming our commitment to the principles of freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining
Prioritizing workstreams underway to ensure we fulfill our promise to offer a bridge to a better future for all partners
In response to a shareholder proposal introduced and adopted at our March 2023 Annual Meeting, the Starbucks Board of Directors retained an independent, third-party to evaluate the Company’s adherence to its commitment to the principles of freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.
Findings and recommendations from the report were provided by Board Chair Mellody Hobson and chair of the Board’s nominating and corporate governance committee, Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, to Shareholders and made public earlier today.
“The assessment was direct and clear that while Starbucks has had no intention to deviate from the principles of freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, there are things the Company can, and should, do to improve its stated commitments and its adherence to these important principles.”Mellody Hobson
independent chair of the Board of Directors
Findings of the assessment show that:
- Starbucks was recovering from challenges created by the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic at the same time a coordinated, top-down union organizing campaign began in Buffalo, New York.
- Starbucks has shown consistent progress since organizing began, and that strategic investments in a stronger governance process, more on-the-ground support, a dedicated labor relations team and more bespoke management training have had a tangible impact on the Company’s adherence to commitments made.
- There is no evidence Starbucks has, or has used, an “anti-union playbook,” and the Company has provided consistent reassurances to partners that Starbucks respects their right to collectively organize through fairly conducted elections.
- Starbucks has encouraged partners to vote, and voting participation in single-store representation elections has steadily increased from less than 60% to approximately 80% today. The increase in participation has not diluted union support, which indicates effective efforts by Starbucks to encourage voting without regard to positions on unionization.
- While 40% of current Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges filed against the Company center around discipline or discharge actions, disciplinary actions have been issued at a similar rate in both union and non-union stores.
- Starbucks is not opposed to bargaining and continues to engage in meaningful negotiations with other unions elected to represent our partners.
Additionally, in her letter to Shareholders, Ms. Hobson and Mr. Vig Kundstorp, on behalf of the Board, highlighted areas of opportunities identified by the assessment for prioritization and action. Opportunities for the Company include:
- Further strengthening the Global Human Rights Statement to provide meaningful behavioral guidance and a clear basis for compliance.
- Continuing to enhance consistency of operations through management communications and more bespoke management training.
- Further improving the framework and standards used by management to evaluate and issue partner discipline.
- Elevating actions to embrace a constructive relationship with Workers United, building on recent outreach to resume contract bargaining.