The CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, has said that his company would not be able to provide expanded benefits to unionized employees, if they were to increase the benefits for workers in the future. This statement has been described as an “indefensible threat” from Schultz by labor organizers who are working to form unions at Starbucks locations around the country. This comes on the heels of several new Starbucks stores having voted to form unions, with as many as 216 stores now being targeted by labor organizers.
If you are working at Starbucks and think your “shift supervisors” shouldn’t be sharing in your tips, then it may be time to move out of New York State and into Massachusetts.
The 2nd Circuit Court, whose jurisdiction extends to New York, Vermont and Connecticut, ruled against baristas in a class action claiming that their shift supervisors should not be allowed to grab a cut of their bounty under state labor law. In 2008, baristas Jeana Barenboim and Jose Ortiz sued Starbucks for more than $5 million on behalf of more than 5,000 of their fellow employees serving at 400 New York stores. They claimed that the chain’s corporate structure made them share their hard-earned tips with their “shift supervisors,” whom they alleged to be actually their bosses. This put the company in violation of New York Labor Law, according to the lawsuit.