Starbucks is in hot water thanks to an online petition that accuses the coffee chain of cutting employee hours in an “extreme” manner.
The petition, signed by over 9,000 people, accuses the Seattle-based corporation of hurting both employee morale and quality of customer service through a number of ways, including their implementation of the “Starbucks Rewards” program, which allows customers to order and pay via mobile devices. This has reduced tipping while minimizing the need for labor.
Another major complaint on the part of those who signed the petition is standard pay. Starbucks pays new hires almost as much as experienced Starbucks workers, thanks to increased minimum wages nationwide.
In response to the petition, Starbucks’ corporate division has reached out to its creator, a Southern California barista by the name of Jaime Prater.
Prater, for his part, has expressed some optimism insofar as how his discussion with corporate went. He feels like they may address some of the issues mentioned, which paint the usually well-regarded corporation— Starbucks offers generally high wages and benefits, along with paid vacation, healthcare coverage, and retirement account contributions— in a bad light.
The petition started by Prater claims that cutbacks in hours started after reports of disappointing sales growth in April. Even stores that have seen growth have cut hours or employees altogether— this includes a store in central California that has cut 10 percent of its jobs, despite a rise in sales.
Of the 9,000 signees of the petition, it is believed that 7,000 are employees of Starbucks.
One analyst commented about Starbucks situation, “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."