The "benefits" of being the OG at Starbucks
As I engage with the short form Twitter world on issues relating to the unionization effort at Starbucks, my position on the issue, as well as my position at Starbucks, is often distorted and exaggerated by the pro-union crowd. I am a part-timer in a green apron, passing out drinks, making friends and having a fun social time away from my solitary home-based day job. I get very flexible scheduling allowing me to do my 9:30-4:00 work from home, have excellent benefits, and enjoy my free or discounted coffee. I'm there for the depth of benefits available to all Starbucks part-timers that we can't get anywhere else.
In 2018 I had a Cadillac health plan through my wife's Teamster's Union job that cost us nothing out of pocket. When that marriage began winding down I had to find my own insurance. When considering my options for health insurance, I looked into various full and part time positions as well as buying insurance directly. As Starbucks was known for having excellent benefits I looked into it and applied there. After all, for 20 years I'd been an almost daily consumer of the vanilla soy latte.
At the age of 52, I landed that insurance at Starbucks for only $42 per bi-weekly pay. Medical, dental, and vision, $91 per month, $1,092 per year. The same plan purchased directly through the same insurance company, would cost me a minimum of $570 per month. In addition to the huge difference in premium, that plan purchased directly through the insurance company has a deductible that is 4.5 times higher than my deductible through Starbucks. My out-of-pocket maximum with the Starbucks plan is only 60% of the out-of-pocket maximum if I bought it directly.
To qualify for all of this I am only required to average 20 hours per week over a 6 month period. For some perspective, Target stores recently announced they are lowering their weekly minimum hours for benefits to 25 hours per week. They had been at 30 hours. Starbucks has been offering benefits to part-time employees for more than 30 years. With the exception of Costco, Starbucks benefits are and have been far better than anyone else in restaurants or retail, including unionized companies.
Health benefits is only the beginning; the list of Starbucks benefits is long. The 401(k) offers high-quality low-cost funds with a 5% match, all partners receive free stock grants and can purchase more Starbucks stock at a 5% discount to the market. Many partners I work with have earned or are working toward their fully paid college degree through Arizona State University. Two new fathers I work with have taken advantage of the 6 weeks of paid parental leave available to both birth and non-birth parents. Only 25% of US companies offer paid parental leave. A friend who recently became pregnant was able to immediately add the health benefits outside of the standard enrollment period.
I am proud to work for Starbucks as they have led in caring for their partners for more than 30 years. And they did it all without a union.