After a fiscal year marked by record-breaking sales, Starbucks has unveiled plans to raise hourly wages and enhance benefits for a significant portion of its U.S. workforce.

On Monday, the company announced that as of January 1, the majority of its U.S. hourly workers will receive a minimum 3% pay increase. Employees with two to five years of service will enjoy at least a 4% raise, while those employed for five years or more will see a minimum of 5% increase, according to Starbucks.

Starbucks presently pays its hourly workers an average of $17.50 per hour. Just last week, the company announced its goal to double hourly income from the levels of 2020 by the end of the 2025 fiscal year, achieved through a combination of extended working hours and higher wages.

While Starbucks has taken these steps to improve compensation and benefits, it has stipulated that these enhancements may not be implemented unilaterally for unionized stores. This decision comes as tensions persist between the company and the workers' union.

Since 2021, a minimum of 366 Starbucks stores in the United States have voted to unionize, according to the National Labor Relations Board. However, Starbucks has yet to reach a labor agreement with Workers United, the union representing these workers, at any of these unionized locations.

Starbucks operates approximately 9,600 stores in the U.S., in addition to around 6,600 licensed stores.

Furthermore, Starbucks has also announced that hourly workers will be eligible to accrue paid vacation time just 90 days after being hired, a significant departure from the previous one-year waiting period. This particular benefit will exclusively apply to non-unionized stores.

In a statement shared with USA TODAY, Workers United expressed satisfaction with the new benefits, stating that they represent a victory for their campaign. The statement emphasized the importance of workers uniting and raising their voices, highlighting their ability to compel powerful companies to make changes they would otherwise be reluctant to implement.

However, the union also expressed its concern over the denial of certain new benefits to unionized stores, deeming it a violation of the law and a "clear continuation" of an "illegal union-busting campaign." The union declared its intention to file an unfair labor practice charge in response to this issue. Photo by GoToVan from Vancouver, Canada, Wikimedia commons.