Starbucks is offering new financial benefits to non-union employees

Starbucks Employees across the country have long enjoyed more benefits than the average service worker.

The company offers retirement planning options and mental health resources. A decade ago, it expanded its health plan to include sex reassignment surgery for transgender employees.

And on Monday, the coffee giant announced a series of new benefits focused on improving workers’ financial well-being. And while the majority of employees will be eligible, a notable portion won’t: those who work at affiliated stores. First Starbucks location voted to unify last December. Since then, other notable union movements have emerged at other major American companies, including REI, Amazonand The name of the chain of stores Trader Joe’s.

Since December of last year, Starbucks has been struggling with a trade union movement in stores nationwide. The current, more than 200 locations merged, with others continuing to file petitions to vote. Several thousand workers are now union members.

Companies have remained steadfast in their opposition to unions throughout the process, argued that unions would interfere with the company’s direct relationship with workers.

New benefits include a new savings plan option along with a student loan management program that comes with tools like personal coaching on loan repayment.

“We’ve heard from our partners and know that inflationary pressures, plus debt and savings are weighing on us,” said Ron Crawford, senior vice president of total rewards at Starbucks. surname” in a press release in Monday. “Delivering industry-leading benefits to our partners is the foundation of what we are as a company.”

Current interim Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz first hinted at plans to expand benefits earlier this year in an online forum with the store manager. During the meeting, he said that the new benefits cannot be extended to union employees as required by US labor law, where employers negotiate wages and benefits separately from union workers.

While it is true that Starbucks cannot change benefits without the approval of union employees, experts have previously told Luck that there are few obstacles to providing union employees with extended benefits.

Workers United, the union seeking to represent Starbucks workers, told Luck on Tuesday that the company’s decision to unilaterally not expand the new benefits was on unnecessary legal grounds, especially after the National Labor Relations Board issued a statement recently that Starbucks’ presentation of extended benefits only to non-union employees violates the National Labor Relations Act, the foundation of U.S. labor law.

“The NLRB recently filed a formal complaint against Starbucks alleging that it was unlawful to withhold new benefits from the workers involved,” a Worker Company spokesperson told Business Insider. know in a statement. Luck. “Starbucks’ claim otherwise is simply a lie and blatant disregard for federal labor law.”

Starbucks did not immediately respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

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