Starbucks is reportedly threatening trans healthcare benefits to prevent union organizing

Happy Pride month everybody! Bloomberg just reported that Starbucks' latest union-busting efforts include an explicit threat to the healthcare benefits of trans employee, in order to protect their capital. As CNBC summarized the proceedings:

A transgender employee at an Oklahoma City location told the publication that she believed her manager used a "veiled threat" in a conversation. The manager reportedly told the employee that her benefits could improve, stay the same or worsen if the store unionized and referred specifically to her use of the trans health-care benefits.

Starbucks' employee health insurance began covering gender reassignment surgery more than a decade ago, adding further coverage for other gender-affirming procedures in 2018; just last month, the company even said that it would begin to cover travel expenses for some of these procedures as well.

It's true that the details of healthcare coverage do often change over the course of union negotiation process; and the general bureaucratic logistics are plenty complicated complicated! (I should know; I was on the initial healthcare committee for the Wirecutter Union.) But this sort of union-busting — whether it's just an empty threat from a single manager, or if it represents a larger company tactic — is utterly shameful, and serves as a perfect microcosm for the lows that companies will stoop to in order to protect their capital. Nothing like a unionizing campaign to make your employer reveal who they really are, and how little they actually care about the labor they're extracting from you, their treasured "family."

Starbucks Threatens Trans Benefits in Anti-Union Push, Staff Say [Josh Eidelson / Bloomberg]

Starbucks union: Company threatens that unionizing could jeopardize gender-affirming health care [Amelia Lucas / CNBC]

Image: Pixabay (public domain)