NEW YORK, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Starbucks announced new student loan repayment tools and a savings account program for all U.S. employees who are not union members, the company said on Monday, amid a growing union drive and soaring demand for coffee.
The move comes ahead of the chain's annual Investor Day on Tuesday, when Wall Street expects it to lay out next year's growth prospects.
Boosting benefits to non-unionized workers while saying that unionized cafes must first bargain for those same benefits may be slowing the pace of union organizing.
The company has lifted hourly U.S. pay for non-unionized cafe workers to an average of nearly $17 as of Aug. 1.
Last month the National Labor Relations Board accused Starbucks of illegally withholding raises from unionized workers.
Workers at more than 230 of Starbucks' roughly 9,000 company-owned U.S. locations have voted to unionize, while at least 48 have voted against.
"They have plenty of liquidity to do that without hampering the dividend," said Edward Jones analyst Brian Yarbrough. »