Starbucks to raise US minimum wage to $15 by next summer

Starbucks announced on Wednesday that it would be raising its minimum wage in the U.S. to $15 an hour by the summer of 2022.

Starbucks said that hourly wages would start at $15 and could be as high as $23 for baristas by next summer depending on tenure and market. CNBC noted that average hourly wages for employees are currently $14 an hour.

The café chain also said that beginning in late January, employees who had been with the company for at least two years could see a raise of up to 5 percent, while those who had been there for at least five years could see a raise of up to 10 percent.

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In an effort to attract more workers, Starbucks also announced that they had hired “recruiting specialists” throughout the U.S. and were extending a $200 referral bonus for new hires. 

The news comes as Starbucks employees at several stores in the Buffalo, N.Y., area are seeking to unionize. Employees told The New York Times in August that issues including understaffing and absenteeism only increased during the pandemic.

“We respect our partners’ right to organize but believe that they would not find it necessary given our pro-partner environment,” the company said in a statement at the time, according to the Times.

Starbucks said the unionization efforts were not the reason for their Wednesday announcement, according to The Associated Press. 

Many industries are facing labor shortages, with stores and services trying to catch up with surging consumer demand as vaccination rates rise and COVID-19 case numbers fall. 

CNBC reported that other restaurant chains, including Chipotle and Domino's, are also struggling to find enough employees to meet the heightened demand.

The number of jobs added in September fell well below expectations, according to Labor Department data. About 194,000 jobs were added last month, compared to the approximately 500,000 jobs that economists anticipated.