The Starbucks Corporation Monday disclosed in US Securities and Exchange Commission filings that former General Counsel Rachel Gonzalez’s pay amounted to nearly $11.7 million in 2022, including $7.1 million in severance pay. Although Starbucks has not revealed the reason for Gonzalez’s departure, it coincided with a nationwide wave of unionization.
Gonzalez served as Starbucks’ general counsel since 2018. The proxy report reveals that Gonzalez had a base salary of $440,200 and over $3.6 million in stock awardsmin addition to her severance compensation. Zabrina Jenkins now fills this role on an interim basis. At the time of Gonzalez’s departure, Starbucks’ founder Howard Schultz served as CEO. Laxman Narasimhan was hired as CEO in September 2022. The company’s filings show the signing bonus given to Narasimhan totaled $8.8 million.
Starbucks employees have increased their efforts to unionize since 2021, when baristas in Buffalo formed the first Starbucks union in the US. The vote followed a nationwide surge in workers voting with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to unionize. Starbucks Workers United claim to “have formed more unions in a 12-month period than any US company in the last 20 years,” with 253 currently unionized stores. Additionally, workers filed 457 unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB. Starbucks retaliated by filing charges against the union.