Share and Share Alike?

Monday, April 07, 2008

Steven Greenhouse, labor and workplace columnist for the New York Times and author of The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker, talks about the lawsuits that baristas are bringing against Starbucks over that company's tipping policy.


Steven Greenhouse

Comments [14]


Or do what I do which is go to Dunkin Donuts. I get better coffee and they put the milk and sugar in it for me. No hassles, no tip jars.

Apr. 07 2008 12:22 PM
Patrick from Manhattan

If you went into a diner and was served at the counter by a waitress, (who by law are not required to recieve minimum wage because they recieve tips) you would leave her a tip. You are not expected to tip the short order cook or the cashier. Nor would a tip be expected if you ordered coffee or food to go, even if the waitress handed you the brown paper bag containing it. The baristas, who recieve much more than minimum wage by the way, are the equivalent of short order cooks at diners.

I agree that tip jars are offensive. The City Council should pass a law prohibiting them.

Apr. 07 2008 12:18 PM
J.C. from Minneapolis

I'm not sure if I understand the point that comment #5 was making, but I would point out that lawyers who take cases on contingency are taking a big risk themselves because they are assuming all of the costs of the lawsuit (in most cases). If the plaintiffs don't win any money, the lawyers have to eat the loss.

I don't mean to say that trial lawyers are angels, but that point should be kept in mind. If you don't like contingency fees, then we as taxpayers need to (gasp!) pay more tax money to fund legal aid programs for those who can't afford the expensive price of a good lawyer.

But in any event, even though I agree that a tip jar is pushing the envelope, I support laws that prohibit management from skimming tips from the low-level workers, so no one should be ashamed to defend their right to their tips in court. That's why we have a court system!

Apr. 07 2008 12:08 PM

It's amazing that SB would prefer to spend so much $ fighting this lawsuit than just to pay the shift supervisors a few dollars more an hour. You should avoid SB based on this alone.

Apr. 07 2008 12:01 PM
Will from Ridgewood NJ

As a current shift supervisor I find it silly to be compared to managers. Starbucks Shift Supervisors are nothing but key holders, we unlock the door in the morning, we count the money in the tills, and that's it. We have no sort of disciplinary abilities, and while we do "manage" the regular Baristas on the floor we do not submit performance reports or make judgements that directly affect Barista pay.

While it's also true that the managers also help out with customers, doing dishes, making drinks, etc they do have the responsibilities that differentiate them, such as handing down reprimands and making suggestions for promotions, as well as handing out scheduling hours, all tasks I'm not allowed to take part in, which is why I should not be seen any differently from any of the Baristas I work with.

Apr. 07 2008 12:00 PM
hjs from 11211

never give to a tip jar

Apr. 07 2008 12:00 PM
Susan from New York City

I'm a Starbucks patron/addict: Since Starbucks folks work as a team, I always give tips with the understanding that everyone will share in the tips.

Apr. 07 2008 11:58 AM
rp from manhattan

these employees should be paid more. If the shift supervisors are truly managers, the company should pay them to reflect that. And tips in this case are truly charity. Workers shouldn't depend on charity for wages.

Apr. 07 2008 11:57 AM


I have to say I really annoys me to be expected to give a tip to someone who simply rung me up (because in most SB the tip jar is by the register not where the drinks are made)

It just strikes me as ridiculous

Apr. 07 2008 11:55 AM
Eric from Manhattan

The suits are brought because the law allows them to be brought. There are ATTORNEYS driving this lawsuit. As class action status, the lawyers are taking home a good chunk of this money. NOT the "baristas."

Apr. 07 2008 11:54 AM
chestinee from Midtown

I think Starbucks should pay their managers more!

Apr. 07 2008 11:53 AM
chestinee from Midtown

When I was a waitron, the waitrons got $2.25/hr and made tips, which were always more money than the managers salaries.

Apr. 07 2008 11:52 AM
Will from Oakland

The tip jar shouldnt even be there, It's offensive. These people aren't waiters. I would never put money in one of these jars. At what point did this fad come about? because the best one i recently saw was a jar for a bagger at a grocery store.

Apr. 07 2008 11:52 AM
Susan from Yorktown Heights NY

If indeed, the public doesn't differentiate between the shift supervisors and baristas, they should place two tip jars on the counter. The caffienated can then be the deciders.

Apr. 07 2008 11:52 AM

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