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SOC labor coalition criticizes Starbucks for its ‘flawed’ union strategy

Exterior view of Starbucks building

A union coalition has accused Starbucks of a "flawed human capital management strategy." 

The Strategic Organizing Center (SOC), representing this coalition, alleges Starbucks' approach has tarnished its reputation, hurt shareholder value, and alienated customers. 

This critique comes alongside the SOC's intention to propose three new candidates for Starbucks' board, challenging the current members.

The proxy presentations read: “The Board’s anti-union strategy has resulted in one of the most glaring and destructive examples of human capital mismanagement in modern U.S. history.

“Starbucks’ aggressive unionization response has not only failed to resolve the Company’s dispute with employees — it has made the problem worse.”

Starbucks said its board is “stocked with world-class business leaders that bring the qualifications and expertise directly relevant to drive our current operations and future success.”

It added, "with partners at the heart of our business, we have continued to significantly invest in and improve their experience, including the over 20% of profits that have gone into wage increases, training, and new equipment in the last fiscal year.”

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Despite nearly 400 Starbucks cafes voting to unionize since late 2021, the company argues its response has been in the best interest of its partners and business.

The SOC accuses Starbucks of worsening the dispute with its staff through its aggressive stance against unionization.

It claimed this has led to a significant financial toll and brand damage. 

This claim is bolstered by a Nielsen poll commissioned by the SOC, which found that a major portion of Starbucks' customers would be less inclined to patronize the chain if it were found to violate federal labor laws.

In its bid to reshape Starbucks' board, the SOC presents candidates it believes possess the necessary experience with labor law and union negotiations.

SOC criticizes the recent board additions by Starbucks for lacking in these areas. 

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