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Here’s why people are upset about the new Starbucks-Delta rewards program

Starbucks and Delta recently launched a joint rewards program, but some people are upset about the two joining forces due to past accusations of the companies’ unfair treatment towards employees and union busting

SHARE Here’s why people are upset about the new Starbucks-Delta rewards program
People walk through the baggage claim with Delta jets visible at their gates.

People walk through the baggage claim with Delta jets visible at their gates at the Salt Lake City International Airport in Salt Lake City on Aug. 2, 2022.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

Delta and Starbucks announced a rewards program partnership that allows customers to earn Delta SkyMiles by purchasing from Starbucks. The new program gives one mile for every dollar spent at Starbucks and double Stars when a member purchases Starbucks on days they travel with Delta.

The new program was excitedly accepted by many on Twitter, but others expressed discontent with the partnership, as both companies have been accused in the past of poor employee treatment and union busting.

Starbucks and Delta’s union busting

245 employees from various U.S. Starbucks locations voted to unionize in the past year. Starbucks has been accused of firing workers who voiced support for a union and forcing employees to quit due to unfair scheduling, according to Vox.

The Guardian reported that Starbucks has also been increasing benefits for workers who don’t belong to the union and has also increased wages to discourage workers from joining. Two U.S. senators, Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., sent a letter to Starbucks heads warning the company to stop engaging in “illegal union-busting tactics.”

The two senators sent the letter on Oct. 4. They urged the leaders to “immediately put an end” to their unethical and illegal anti-union activities and to respect the rights of their employees.

As for Delta Airlines, their employees formed a union to receive better pay, benefits and better working conditions, according to the Delta Flight Attendant Union site. The union site claims that Delta pays $100 million less a year than United for flight attendant costs.

Delta Airlines resorted to tactics to stop these unions from growing. In May 2019, Delta produced posters discouraging staff from joining a union. According to the BBC, the posters encouraged staff to buy video games “instead of paying dues to the union.”

The poster at the bottom references a site with the domain “DontRiskItDontSignIt.com.”

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace workers filed charges with the National Mediation Board for union interference after the poster came out. The IAM said that Delta ran a “systematic anti-union campaign” that used tactics of intimidation and termination of union activists, according to USA Today.

The anti-union history in the two companies’ backgrounds has some questioning whether this issue will impact the new partnership between the companies.