Some Starbucks employees and customers are upset that hours are being reduced for baristas. In fact, more than 12,000 people have signed on to a symbolic online petition demanding Starbucks listen to their grievances. The petition begins:
“Our goal is simple. We want Starbucks corporate to listen to what we have to say and understand that the current labor practices are sinking morale at corporate stores. Baristas feel the force of the labor cuts and the gross underemployment because of the new standard. We understand that businesses have to be profitable to survive, we get it. What’s happening currently is some of the most extreme labor cuts in Starbucks history.”
The petition — launched by a barista from California — claims “hours are being cut, in essence, to preserve profitability for Starbucks.” That, of course, could be true. But, the petition never mentions the likely reasons for the cuts.
You see, cuts in works hours/shifts from full-time to part-time workers was one of the “biggest warnings from people questioning the logic of making low-skilled workers more costly to businesses” via huge minimum wage hikes (like California’s statewide $15 minimum wage). KIRO Radio’s Jason Rantz explains:
Prater admits that the job of a barista “…isn’t a hard one.” He says it can be demanding, but “…it’s easy work.” Yet, why do people with such easy jobs have such high demands in relation to the value of the job? If your job can be done by a machine — and yes, much of what a barista does can be replaced by a machine — what incentive does a business have to continue to incur the increased costs of your labor?
If you don’t bring in enough profits to justify $15 an hour, your hours will either be cut or you’ll be given more responsibility to justify the wage increase. If you don’t bring in enough profits to cover the cost of mandated health insurance, why wouldn’t the business cut hours so you’re not eligible for the free health care? If you can get two part-time workers at the same cost as one full-time worker, why wouldn’t a business go with two?
In the end, Starbucks is a business. It exusts to turn a profit, not cater to or validate the feelings its employees. Again, Rantz explains:
“You can complain that this exploits the worker, but that’s a rather myopic argument. It’s a contractual relationship where you also exploit the employer for valuable skills that you leverage into a higher paying job within the company (and if you can’t advance there, you go across the street and you bring to them the skills you earned from the previous employer). If you don’t like it, you can always quit.”
Understandably, it is difficult to have your work hours cut — especially when you depend on that income entirely. But, this is just one of the consequences of political policies put in place by those who don’t pay the economic costs — like the $15 minimum wage — and are based on emotions, not logic or facts.
So, rather than address their complaints to Starbucks (a corporation that is known for generosity toward its employees), baristas would be better off complaining to Democrats pushing a special interests-driven agenda.
Tensor: huh, I’ll be darned! Do you suppose this same phenomenon could be taking place in SeaTac? Naw…
Pat, to pre-empt Tensor, he’s going to assert you have absolutely no proof of this, because proof doesn’t exist, and he’ll very likely insist you poll every Starbucks worker in Sea Tac to prove your point. He might even tell you to inspect their tip jars and grab work schedules. Even if you do, you didn’t do this before the $15 wage took effect so he’ll assert whatever he says is undeniably correct.
Wow, it’s easy to play the Tensor socialist communist game. It took no work on my part (just a quick moment or two), and I’m correct until you take several hours to prove me wrong.
LOL!!! You said it perfectly!
I’ll simply note this post assumes what it actually needs to show, and so the reader can choose to believe it or not. Real voters in real elections have been choosing not to so believe. Do you have any economic statistics to show we voters have been wrong to do so?
Comrade Tensor, nice to hear from you. I wouldn’t bother with the proof because you wouldn’t recognize anything true as the proof-you’re indoctrinated to accept anything you have been spoon fed-no matter how bad it tastes!
Chan Bailey says
“Real voters in real elections have been choosing not to so believe.” That speaks for us. What do you do? Please answer the question without asking a question.
Yes, this phenomenon — of Shift *asserting* economic damage from progressive labor policies, while not actually ever *showing* any connection between actual economic damage (if any!) and the progressive labor policy — this very phenomenon applies to Shift’s statements about SeaTac as well. They are all equally groundless, which is why we voters have been ignoring them for years now.
Now, if you’re asserting some other phenomenon is happening, please both tell us what it is, and show it happening.
You really are a shill and dillitante! If you are basing your arguments on the basis that the State of Washington and especially King County/Seattle has the moral high ground and knows what is best: I don’t know whether to laugh myself to death or ask for assisted suicide instructions. King County/Seattle are about as far away from reality as you can get and remember: the German people supported and voted for Hitler until they realized the truth.
for assisted suicide instructions. King County/Seattle are about as far away from reality as you can get…
I couldn’t agree more. Seattle’s unemployment rate has been below national and state averages for the past five years:
Did you mean to imply this was a bad thing?
Blah blah blah
I guess I don’t get this hour cutting and why there is such an outcry. This has been going on in industries for years depending on profits needed to keep the company going. Some similar industries are supermarket chains for example. Depending on the time of year, they cut hours. Depending on for instance a union contract negotiations where they are mandated to raise wages. Maybe the costs of transport become unusually high due to gas prices. All these things are balanced each and everyday, evaluated, projections are made, then the hours needed are sent down to each store and the work schedule is made for that week. Multiple things play into this, but I would say health insurance costs and wages have the most long term impact and they will cut hours and expect MORE from you (less employees to do the same work required) because you are being paid more and you need to produce more. If you can’t, they will cut your hours and hire more people to give the company more flexibility. Wait until Seattle city counsel starts making even more demands of employers. Those ideas will also spread into your community eventually affecting your job.
You obviously don’t get the democratic-socialist model where either the “evil corporation” supports the cause, or they are forced by regulation, taxes and unionization. In the meantime they launch their “social justice” warriors to stage sit-ins, boycotts and other means to bring the “evil corporation” to its bloody knees (or more often the case to China). Now excuse, all this discussion of “evil corporations” has me rather red in the face and I really really must repair to my safe space and sip on my vanilla chai
Prater admits the job of a barista “… isn’t a hard one.”
I don’t drink coffee, but I would pay good money to watch Rantz and the anonymous author(s) of this post cover the morning rush hour behind the counter of a downtown Starbucks every weekday morning for a month. After they’ve done that for minimum wage and any tips their job performance earns (ha, ha, ha), they can tell us how their current jobs are so tough by comparison to overpaid baristas.
Helga Joubert says
It’s stressful and demanding, but it doesn’t require special skills that the vast majority of the population couldn’t learn within a week or two. There’s not much technical skill here, and there’s nothing important at stake; no lives will be lost if that frappaccino isn’t done just right. These employees don’t take their jobs home with them, and they don’t worry at night how they’re going to solve tough problems. Prater is correct in stating it’s not a hard job. It’s certainly not worth $15 an hour.
How does this description differ from Rantz’ job? Because I somehow doubt he’d be happy earning less than $15/hour.
Chan Bailey says
“Anonymous authors” – What’s your name?