Quantcast
Connect with us

Starbucks accused of slashing employee work hours: ‘We’re suffering, and so are customers’

Published

on

An online petition accusing Starbucks Corp of “extreme” cutbacks in work hours at its U.S. cafes, hurting both employee morale and customer service, has been signed by more than 9,000 people.

The world’s biggest coffee chain, trying to address cooling growth at its U.S. shops, recently introduced technology that allows customers to order and pay from mobile devices. That service aims to boost sales and reduce bottlenecks in stores.

ADVERTISEMENT

Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz and other top brass have spoken with Jaime Prater, a Southern California barista and the online petition’s creator, the Seattle-based company said.

It declined to give details but Starbucks spokeswoman Jaime Riley said it is not uncommon for Schultz to reach out to members of its 160,000-strong U.S. workforce. She also said no nationwide cutback in labor hours or jobs was underway at Starbucks stores.

Starbucks has a software system that determines labor needs based on business trends. Store managers can work with leadership in their respective regions to determine labor needs based on any factors not taken into account by the system, Riley said.

CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM

ADVERTISEMENT

Prater told Reuters he is cautiously optimistic after executives said they are looking into the issues raised in the petition.

“There is a small window right now” to act, he said.

Comments on the petition painted a picture of broad discontent at the company known for offering better wages and benefits than other chains, including healthcare coverage, retirement account contributions and paid vacation days.

ADVERTISEMENT

Prater and many signers say they noticed cutbacks in U.S. staffing hours after Starbucks in April reported a deceleration in quarterly cafe sales growth. Several of them said store managers were under pressure to comply with the dictates of Starbucks’ software system.

Almost 7,000 signers of the petition described themselves as employees, according to Prater. They did not give their full names and Reuters was not immediately able to confirm that signers worked for Starbucks.

“The labor situation has gone from tight to infuriating,” Prater said.

ADVERTISEMENT

One central California store has seen its labor allotment shrunk by about 10 percent, even though sales are up, its manager, who asked not to be identified for fear or reprisal, told Reuters.

Similar complaints were heard from many signers of the online petition.

“No matter what we do to save on labor at my store, the system tells us EVERY SINGLE DAY that we are at least 8 hours over in labor for the day and have to cut even more,” wrote signer Aaron I.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We’re suffering, & so are our customers. It’s not working,” wrote Leslie S, a self-described shift manager.

RISING PRESSURES A GRIND

“Mobile orders have increased sales and created more need for labor, yet the company is cutting labor,” wrote Makenna S, a shift supervisor.

ADVERTISEMENT

Like other restaurants and retail companies, Starbucks is wrestling with the effects of local minimum wage increases. Some petitioners said Starbucks had not boosted pay for existing workers in areas where minimum wages have increased – creating a situation where new hires are paid about the same wage as more experienced peers.

Others said take-home pay had also taken a hit because tipping has fallen substantially amid broad customer adoption of the “Starbucks Rewards” program, which allows customers to pay with a loyalty card or mobile phones.

During the second quarter, Starbucks’ U.S.-dominated Americas region posted a 7 percent gain in sales at established cafes, down from 9 percent in the first quarter. The current quarter rise is expected to be 6.2 percent, according to Consensus Metrix.

ADVERTISEMENT

“They’ve been posting industry-leading same-store sales growth for the last five years while reducing labor costs – a trend that can’t continue,” said Howard Penney, an analyst at Hedgeye Risk Management, who follows Starbucks.

(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles, editing by G Crosse and Tom Brown)

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and legal efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. And unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from billionaires and corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click to donate by check.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Conservative columnist blasts GOP as ‘partisan hacks for whom hypocrisy is second-nature’

Published

on

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump once again ripped into The Squad, this time to undercut an emotional press conference in which Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MN) described the conditions her Palestinian relatives live under.

“Sorry, I don’t buy Rep. Tlaib’s tears. I have watched her violence, craziness and, most importantly, WORDS, for far too long,” the president tweeted. “Now tears? She hates Israel and all Jewish people. She is an anti-Semite. She and her 3 friends are the new face of the Democrat Party. Live with it!”

Sorry, I don’t buy Rep. Tlaib’s tears. I have watched her violence, craziness and, most importantly, WORDS, for far too long. Now tears? She hates Israel and all Jewish people. She is an anti-Semite. She and her 3 friends are the new face of the Democrat Party. Live with it!

Continue Reading

Facebook

‘They’re with me all the way’: Trump uses Log Cabin endorsement as shield when asked about destroying LGBT rights

Published

on

President Donald Trump has not publicly acknowledged the early endorsement he received late last week from the gay Republican group Log Cabin Republicans, but he was quick to mention it when asked about his record of destroying the civil rights of LGBTQ people.

Trump bragged, “they’re with me all the way, and I just got a big endorsement from the Log Cabin group,” during a Tuesday afternoon press gaggle, according to pool reports.

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

Convicted Cardinal Pell’s fate hangs on appeal

Published

on

An Australian court will rule on George Pell's appeal against child sex abuse charges Wednesday, when the convicted cardinal could walk free or begin a new round in his protracted legal fight.

Once the Vatican's third-ranking official, 78-year-old Pell was sentenced this year to six years in jail for sexually assaulting two 13-year-old choirboys at a Melbourne cathedral in the 1990s.

After more than two months of deliberations, a three-judge appeals panel will hand down their decision.

Pell is the most senior Catholic convicted of child sex abuse, making his case and Wednesday's ruling a touchstone moment for believers and victims groups around the world.

Continue Reading
 
 

Thank you for whitelisting Raw Story!

As a special thank you, from now until August 31st, we're offering you a discounted rate of $5.99/month to subscribe and get ad-free access. We're honored to have you as a reader. Thank you. :) —Elias, Membership Coordinator
LEARN MORE
close-link
close-image