This story was first reported and published by Digiday sibling Glossy
After the Supreme Court Roe v. Wade, some companies have offered to cover the travel expenses of their employees seeking an abortion in another state. Starbucks, Amazon, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Gucci, Condé Nast, Nike, and Levi’s are among the smaller companies that have offered this benefit. But for some employees, the offer comes with strings attached.
According to the Seattle Times, Starbucks said it would cover travel expenses for employees who want an abortion, although the company noted in its official statement from executive vice president Sarah Kelly that it “cannot guarantee the same benefits.” get employees.
Starbucks has seen multiple union campaigns at its US locations since 2021. As of May 2022, over 100 stores were unionized. Starbucks is known for its anti-union efforts, which included firing seven unionized workers in Memphis, Tennessee, in February. Employees in Buffalo, New York also alleged that the company was aggressively questioned and questioned in retaliation for being endorsed by the company. The store’s Union Drive in late 2021. Starbucks did not respond to a request for comment.
According to Jessica Garcia, assistant to the president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Stores Union (RWDSU), the withholding of health services in retaliation for unionization only shows the need for a union in the first place.
“Companies will try to withhold all kinds of perks to intimidate workers to organize,” Garcia said. “I don’t think it will work. Workers choose to organize to have a voice in their workplace. if [covering abortion travel costs] There is an important issue for them that can be raised at the negotiating table and negotiated in the contract.”
Unions can secure specific benefits for workers, as the Vox Media union did. Implicit coverage of travel expenses for abortions Last week in his new contract with Vox Media. Vox Media owns, among other things, the fashion and beauty publication The Cut.
Even without Starbucks’ clear anti-union message, other companies’ strategies to achieve this gain reveal other types of inequality. Amazon said it would cover travel expenses for employees to receive abortions, but has similarly placed restrictions on what benefits would apply. In order to receive compensation, Amazon requires an employee to be enrolled in the company’s healthcare plan. It would exclude more than 100,000 workers, including truck drivers and factory workers, who are technically classified as contractors and ineligible for healthcare benefits. Like other tech companies, including Uber and Doordarshan, Amazon has struggled to classify its drivers as contractors rather than employees, keeping the company off the hook when it comes to healthcare benefits. an advantage? It also prevents them from forming unions.
“That raises an interesting question about who we define as an employee,” Garcia said. “What is Amazon responsible for? We have criticized Amazon’s ability to manipulate laws to exempt itself from granting benefits in the past. Amazon is such a big company that it’s worth looking into when they claim they work for some employees when they’re not your responsibility.”
Amazon did not respond to requests for comment on this story.
Health care is a barrier to many union efforts, according to Alex Press, an author whose work has appeared in Vox, The Nation, and the Washington Post and who focuses on labor and union efforts.
“Linking health care regulations to employment status, as we are doing in the United States, reinforces the employer advantage over employees,” Press said. “If your ability to get medical treatment depends on staying employed, you are less likely to organize with your colleagues to resolve those issues, including talking about problems at work or a strike. As we saw last year, employers whose employees were on strike were also quick to suspend health insurance during the pandemic.