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To: Starbucks Coffee Company

Starbucks, Lack of Labor is Killing Morale

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.

Morale is at the lowest I’ve seen it in my nearly 9 years of service with Starbucks. Customers feel this the most, of anyone.

If this is going to change, the corporate side of the company is going to have to understand that under employing people, while understaffing their stores is a recipe for disaster. We want Starbucks to ease up, give us room to breathe, to have the proper kind of staff to ultimately, give our amazing and wonderful customers the service they deserve. Right now, that’s not happening. Customer Service is declining, the third place experience is disappearing.

Why is this important?

The labor situation has gone from tight to infuriating. Labor has been cut so much in corporate stores, that one call-off (an employee calling in sick) impacts the entire day, as managers are directed to cut shifts to save on labor costs. Baristas trying to work more than 25 hours a week (myself included) find that a near impossible task. You end up taking it personally, when corporate directs your stores to understaff, and under schedule. You wonder if they realize how difficult it is to pay your bills when you work 25 hours a week?

Right now, the labor allowed to stores is so dire that it’s killing morale, companywide. Let it be stated that this job isn’t a hard one. It’s demanding, but it’s easy work, if trained properly. Customers want their coffee and they want it in a timely fashion. As labor continues to be cut, it creates an atmosphere where baristas are worn to the bone without being able to take a breath. Cleanliness suffers, speed of service suffers, partners suffer.

Many baristas are twenty-something college students, living at home. Many more are people like myself, artists, writers, breadwinners, who depend on their income.

The tip situation has also drastically changed. Before the implementation of a Starbucks Reward program (MSR), tips were higher. Now, with a growing percentage and majority of customers using the app, and their registered cards, tips are in major decline. When you factor that in with actual take home pay, it’s a scary place to be. The way Starbucks frames itself, is that it’s a company worth investing in, worth being loyal to. Because of the health care, the benefits, the 401K, the stock, on the outside, why wouldn’t you want to invest yourself, as an employee to a great company? (and it is a great company).

Realistically, investing in starbucks, as an employee, is becoming more difficult. Hours are becoming more elusive as store managers hire 10-20 employees at 20-25 hours a week, sacrificing tenured employees. At Starbucks, tenure makes no difference. These days, a 7 year employee makes as much as a new hire. Experience is given no merit. Right now, the labor climate keeps most baristas regularly underemployed, enough to qualify for benefits, but not enough to afford to pay for them. The most frustrating aspect lately is the pay, and having to commute to work for a 4.5 hour shift, while spending over an hours worth of pay to get yourself there.

Labor is the real bone of contention, in addition to the drinks that corporate continues to roll out, (absent the labor to support them, as in years past), baristas also continue to struggle in their stores, with more expectation, with less support staff. These days, baristas do the work for two to three people as labor isn’t just cut to save money, it’s under cut, so stores are intentionally understaffed.
I love Starbucks. As an artist, and a fan of process, it’s a job that plays into that love (and to my strengths), and a genuine connection to people and customers of all ages, races, genders, and expressions. The Starbucks culture is singular. I haven’t experienced it anywhere else. What’s happening is a slow extinction of that culture. As less and less people are staffed in stores the pressure mounts. THIS is what needs to change.


2017-10-07 11:06:20 -0400

20,000 signatures reached

2017-07-06 14:16:30 -0400

Reuters reported on data shared by signers of this petition ("Starbucks customer engagement plan hurt by understaffing: survey," July 6, 2017). You can read it in full, here:

2017-06-05 16:48:32 -0400

Cosmopolitan referenced this petition in a new article:

2017-06-05 16:47:44 -0400

Check out a new article from Business Insider that discusses this campaign here:

2016-07-06 13:34:21 -0400

Small update. I’m taking a break for a while. I’m feeling a bit vulnerable and overwhelmed. I want to address something that PR rep Jaime Riley said to The Seattle Times in reference to in-store labor practices.

Shifts are being slashed at stores all around the country, unequivocally. This is happening. People are coming in to their stores, working parts of their shifts, and being sent home early. Some days, shifts are cut completely. It’s not happening to everyone, but it’s happening enough, as aforementioned....all around the country. I’ve read account after account detailing the labor cutting practices, and the pressure from local District Managers to cut hours. It’s happening.

I don’t believe Jaime Riley is in control of the facts.

2016-07-03 13:49:43 -0400

Checking in. This weekend we were greeted with a $3 Frappuccino event. Typically, when these happen, we’re given the labor to ensure that we can adequately and accurately serve our wonderful customers.

This time. We had continued REDUCED LABOR. The truth matters. Profits continue rise companywide, while baristas sink beneath expectations, long lines, and the lack of proper labor to execute duties.

2016-07-02 15:22:26 -0400

10,000 signatures reached

2016-07-02 14:55:06 -0400

We’re at just about TEN THOUSAND signatures! Thank you all, so much. i’ll be sending a formal email out, when that threshold is crossed.

At this time, I want to let everyone know that many Store Managers I have spoken to, feel that if they do not conform to the new labor standards, they will lose their jobs. Many of them are working in fear of consequences, so they are doing as directed and understaffing their stores.

Truth matters.

2016-07-02 01:36:26 -0400

We would like to stop and thank our amazing and wonderful customers, who’ve been our friends, our allies, and the smiles we count on seeing, every day. We’re here for you. We’d ask that you be here for us.

If you’re wondering how you can help....WRITE IN, WRITE ON THE STARBUCKS OFFICIAL FACEBOOK PAGE, let them know you care about us. We can’t do this without you.

2016-06-30 13:36:02 -0400

I wanted to make public, the outline I handed the very gracious and endearing people I spoke to yesterday, so as to continue to work towards transparency. This outline contains many of the concerns about labor, workload, value, and solutions, that I believe, are important for growth and a return to that place that made Starbucks so great in the beginning.

2016-06-28 20:40:27 -0400

"We all work at Starbucks for more than just a paycheck to take care of others, we work here because of all Starbucks was and is supposed to be...but it is now fallen way short and no longer holds the same value to many of us..I am a single mother that cannot even take care of my children on this whole family helps me financially because I cannot afford taking care of us.I have a degree and experience but I make very little even tho I am a shift and mind you that is when I received my first pay raise ever with this company and it was a little over a $1.00 raise after 2 years and a promotion. I cannot afford to even take care of my children.been on state help and my family paying most of my expenses. this is absolutely crazy. Something must finally give here..I used to adore this company and Howard Schultz for the last 20+ years..what has happened to his original philosophy and where he began many years ago? We need him back. he needs to see how very hard it is for us"

2016-06-28 14:19:39 -0400

Today, I received word that a barista who works for Starbucks had committed suicide due to stress, and other things in play. Blessings on their family and friends as they struggle to deal with this loss.

To update this. Yes, the partner involved had been under undue stress, and was on a leave of absence, at that time.

2016-06-27 18:07:52 -0400

Another Store Manager has anonymously contacted me, with the below quote..

Part 4 of 4

"On top of that I am fearful that if my name was associated with this I'd loose my job. That is not what this company use to be. I have spoken to other managers, they feel the same way, yet no one is comfortable speaking up and that is a sign. My wait times have gone up, my baristas are looking for new jobs, I am terrified I am facing loosing people who are an asset to this company, people who believe in our mission statement, who work everyday to impact everyone's life in a positive way. These people, myself included are drowning and we need Starbucks to understand and support us."

2016-06-27 18:07:20 -0400

Another Store Manager has anonymously contacted me, with the below quote..

Part 3 of 4

I am constantly stressed, worried, and trying to compensate so my partners do not feel the same way. I understand some managers abuse the system to not be at the store but I have used sick time to save my labor because as a single parent I need my job. I will do and compensate in anyway my team needs me but I should NOT feel like this. My team is being devastated by these cuts, I don't even know if we could pass QASA because we're literally running on fumes. If this doesn't change soon I as a manager with a bachelor's in business I do not know if I can even continue to work for this company and this is the only job I have ever had.

2016-06-27 18:02:29 -0400

Another Store Manager has anonymously contacted me, with the below quote..

Part 2 of 4

"The labor cuts, which is what they are is ripping my team apart, mornings, mids, nights cannot accomplish what they could before, they are frustrated, exhausted, and hurt. We cannot complete our weekly tasks, we can barely give breaks, I take no breaks except two five minutes to smoke. My team should NOT feel this way. I have been with the company for over 5 years and have never experienced this. Baristas are stressed and over worked but please do not forget the manager's who care and are feeling it ten times more than baristas. I took some days off, planning to check in with my store (I trust my team) and still continued to get labor and waste questions from my District Manager (via text), which made me feel obligated to go in so I could respond.”