Friday, March 21, 2008

Starbucks' Tip Jar

So I'm surfing while drinking my morning coffee (purely by happenstance, y'all, I actually don't get coffee every morning, I swear!), and I ran accross this article.

I don't know how it works in other states, but California state law says that supervisors and managers don't share employee tips. It's one of the easier ways of making sure that a dishonest supervisor isn't hustling the wait staff for tips. To me, it makes perfect sense. Yes, a good supervisor or manager is worth their weight in tips. They keep things flowing, keep the customers happy, fix problems, deal with the bad eggs and do countless other things that help the wait staff earn good tips. You pay a supervisor or manager to do that awesome job and do it well. They're not doing it for tips, they're doing it for the extra salary. OK, a lot of them are doing it because they're good at it and they enjoy it, but the money's good, too. Your management staff shouldn't need tips because they should be getting paid enough to not require tips.

Your wait staff does need tips, because wage laws are set so that you can pay your wait staff less if they receive tips. Those tips are part of their salary, essentially, and a lot of wait staff count on those tips to make ends meet. Maybe that's sucky, but that's how the law is set up.

So y'all need to take that money you're saving by paying your wait staff less, and give it to your management staff. Do not take the tips that are being given to your wait staff and pay your management staff with them. That's not cool.

Now I know I've talked before about my Starbucks and the reason that it's my Starbucks is because of the manager. Every time I've been there that she's been working, she's taking orders, making coffee, doing all the things the regular staff do and, frankly, she's earning being tipped. Because she's manager, however, she's doing all those extra things that managers do that regular staff don't have to do. Like listening to me bitch about the new blonde girl and, seriously, why is she still here? Because she's manager, her employer has the duty and responsibility to pay her a wage that is comensurate with her experience, training, and level of service to the company. It's their responsibility to make sure she is being rewarded financially for the work she does.

Valerie O'Neil, spokeswoman for Starbucks, said "This case was filed by a single former barista and, despite Starbucks request, the interests of the sift supervisors were not represented in litigation."

What this says to me is that Starbucks clearly  has no concept of California law or the reason behind it. Laura Ho, the attorney who represented the baristas, summed it up succinctly: "Starbucks illegally took a huge amount of money from the tip pool to pay shift supervisors, rather than paying them out of its own pocket. The court's verdict rightfully restores that money to the baristas."

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