Posted 38 days ago
Starbucks has announced it will join more than a dozen companies covering travel expenses for U. S. employees seeking abortions and gender-confirmation procedures in the aftermath of the Supreme Court's Roe v Wade draft opinion leak.
The Seattle coffee giant said on Monday that it will cover the travel costs for staff who live in areas where those services aren't available within 100 miles of a worker's home.
Starbucks will also make the travel benefit available to the dependents of employees who are enrolled in Starbucks' health care plan. The company has 240,000 U. S. employees but the company didn't say what percentage of them are enrolled in its health care plan.
Starbucks is among the most high-profile companies to have adopted a travel benefit in the wake of a leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court that would abolish the nationwide right to abortion.
'Regardless of what the Supreme Court ends up deciding, we will always ensure our partners have access to quality health care,' Sara Kelly, Starbucks acting executive vice president of partner resources, wrote in a letter to employees.
Amazon is also covering up to $4,000 in travel and lodging expenses for employees seeking non-life threatening medical treatments, including abortions and gender-confirming procedures.
According to messages sent to staff, the benefit has been in place since the beginning of this year and applies if the procedure is not available within 100 miles of an employee's home.
Tesla also said earlier this month it would cover travel costs for employees seeking out-of-state abortions.
Some companies, including Levi Strauss & Co., Yelp and Citigroup, have pledged to pay travel costs for Texas employees who seek abortions, in response to a 2021 Texas law banning abortions after roughly six weeks of pregnancy.
Meanwhile, other companies, including Walmart and Facebook, have stayed silent on the hot-button issue.
Starbucks said the travel benefit would be extended to employees on the company's health care plan even if they work in stores that have voted to unionize.
At least 69 of the company's U. S. stores have voted to unionize since the end of 2021, and many more have petitioned the federal government to hold union elections. Starbucks opposes unionization.
Earlier this month, Starbucks angered labor organizers when it announced enhanced pay and benefits for workers at its non-union stores.
CEO Howard Schultz said at the time that the company isn't legally allowed to offer benefits at union stores, since those stores must negotiate their own contracts.
Politico first reported on the leak of Alito's draft opinion, which was the biggest indication yet that the conservative-leaning court could overturn a constitutional right to abortion that has been in place since an earlier 1973 ruling.
The court has said the draft does not represent the final position of any of the court's members, and Chief Justice John Roberts has ordered an investigation into the leak.
The leak has sparked protests at the Supreme Court, at the Justices' home and around the nation.
More than 380 events have been scheduled from Maine to Hawaii, with the largest gatherings expected in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and other big cities, organizers said.
In the nation's capital, activists planned to gather at the Washington Monument before marching to the Supreme Court, which is now surrounded by a security fence.
Tens of thousands of people were expected at the 'Bans off our Bodies' events, providing an outlet for anger and frustration for abortion rights activists.
'If it's a fight they want, it's a fight they'll get,' Rachel Carmona, executive director of the Women's March, told the Associated Press.
The leak went on to prompt nationwide protests, including angry crowds outside of the homes of conservative Supreme Court justices.
The draft caused an uproar on both sides of the aisle, with Democrats angry about the upheaval of abortion protections while Republicans are outraged at the violation of the high court's private deliberations.
Roberts confirmed the leaked draft's authenticity in a May 3 statement and announced the high court will investigate to find out who is responsible.
His statement... (Read more)