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Starbucks fuels employee voting opportunity

Starbucks employees will not have to choose between working a shift and voting in the upcoming election.

The coffee giant is pledging that every worker will have the opportunity to vote on or before Election Day (Tuesday, Nov. 3), without worry of losing paid work time. Starbucks will launch this effort by holding conversations between managers and employees to help ensure that nearly 200,000 Starbucks workers have the tools and the time necessary to register and cast their vote. 

Other retailers are also offering voting initiatives. J. Crew is closing all J.Crew and Madewell stores, corporate offices, its distribution center and customer service center for the full day on Election Day, Nov. 3. Amazon and Gap are both running social media campaigns to encourage voting.

Additional steps Starbucks is taking to promote voting include providing a non-partisan online voting information portal. The retailer is also partnering with Civic Alliance to enable employees to volunteer with their local election authority as (non-partisan) poll workers, as well as advocating at all levels of government that all Americans have safe, accessible ways to vote, In September, through its app, Starbucks will provide resources and information on how and where customers can to register to vote.

In a letter to employees and customers posted on the Starbucks website, CEO Kevin Johnson said the company will make further announcements regarding its efforts to promote racial equity, justice and opportunity.

“You will hear about greater transparency into diversity and inclusion data when it comes to hiring, developing and advancing partners across all roles within the company,” Johnson said in the letter. “You will hear about us partnering with civil rights groups, non-profits, governments and first responders who share our belief that every single human being—including Black, Indigenous and people of color—feels safe, welcome and respected. You’ll also hear about other ways we are further using our scale for good in the communities we serve. The bottom line being: Starbucks will not wait for change; we will make change of our own.”

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