SWU Releases the Internal Health Care Document Starbucks Doesn't Want You to See
One of the greatest achievements in the history of corporate public relations has been Starbucks' effort to mislead the American public about its health care plan. While Starbucks has been lauded again and again based on its misleading statements about employee health care, the company has consistently refused to reveal the pricing of the plan. Today the Starbucks Workers Union is making available the internal health care document that the company and its chief propagandist Howard Schultz don't want you to see because it reveals the high-cost of coverage.
Here's the real story about health care at Starbucks:
Starbucks finally admitted that it provides health insurance to just 42% of its workforce and that includes management. By contrast, Wal-Mart insures 47% of its workforce. That's right, the self-proclaimed leader of employee health care has a poorer record than Wal-Mart, a company notorious for the burden it places on taxpayers via uninsured workers.
There's two reasons why the majority of Starbucks employees either receive government health care for the poor, are uninsured, or are lucky enough to have insurance from another source:
1. Hours Eligibility To qualify to purchase health care from Starbucks, an employee must work 240 hours per quarter. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of workers at Starbucks are part-time with no guaranteed hours each week. In fact, 100% of Starbucks baristas, bussers, and shift supervisors (retail hourly workers) are part-time. Starbucks concedes that only 65% of its workforce gets the 240 hours necessary to purchase health care from the company.
2. Prohibitively Expensive Out-of-Pocket Costs If you're lucky enough to be one of the 65% of employees who gets 240 hours, you're then faced with exorbitant costs to purchase health care. Whether you pick a lower premium plan with a higher deductible or vice versa, paying for a plan is out of reach for the majority of employees. Making around $7 or $8 dollars per hour and only getting 25 or 30 hours of work each week, it's unreasonable to expect that barisas will be able to contend with high premiums, co-pays, deductibles, "payment percentages", and other out-of-pocket expenses. One of Starbucks' family health plans has a deductible of $3,000/year and an out of pocket maximum of $24,000/year!
Put the above two hurdles together and you get a health plan worse than Wal-Mart!
An interesting aspect of this story concerns the role of the mainstream media. How many times has a TV interviewer or newspaper reporter regurgitated the claim that Starbucks provides health care to all its employees who work 20 hours per week?
Next time a Starbucks official or media outlet makes a false claim about health care at the company, write a letter to the editor and set the record straight!