Starbucks’ first union was formed in Japan… “Request for wage increase”

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There are also demands for resolving manpower shortages, abolishing the ban on wearing accessories, and installing chairs at checkout counters.

The Nippon Keizai Shimbun reported on the 30th that employees working at Starbucks Coffee Japan stores, the Japanese subsidiary of Starbucks in the U.S., have formed a labor union.

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The union was formed on November 1st, and a small number of employees formed a union under the name ‘Starbucks Union Japan’. Nippon Keizai reported that this is the first Starbucks union to be established in Japan.

Currently, there are three union members, including a part-time student and a full-time employee. According to the newspaper, prior to the formation of the Starbucks union, collective bargaining has been held since August through the ‘Metropolitan Area Youth Union’, demanding improved wages, but it is known that negotiations with the management have been sluggish.

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According to Starbucks Union Japan, the hourly wage of a union member working at a store in Tokyo is 1,170 yen. Tokyo’s hourly minimum wage is 1,113 yen.

The union is claiming that not only the hourly wages of part-time workers but also the salaries of union members working for disabled people, whom Starbucks calls “challenge partners,” are treated at the minimum wage level.

The union plans to demand wage increases, resolve manpower shortages, eliminate the ban on wearing accessories, and install counter chairs in future collective bargaining.

One union member said, “The value of the company cannot be increased without workers,” and demanded, “Give us a wage commensurate with the labor.”

Accordingly, Starbucks Coffee Japan acknowledged that it is conducting collective bargaining through the Seoul Metropolitan Area Youth Union and said, “Since we started our business (in Japan), we have provided the best experience to our customers and developed relationships with the region. “This attitude will not change in the future,” he said. “We will seriously listen to the voices of our partners (employees), face them, and walk together.”

In the United States, the birthplace of Starbucks, the first union was formed in December 2021. As the novel coronavirus outbreak has led to a severe manpower shortage, movements to form unions have spread to demand improved treatment. On the 16th, members of Starbucks Workers United, the U.S. Starbucks union, began a strike.

Source: Donga

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