Don't pat yourself too hard on the back there, Starbucks.
August 30, 2017 7:57 AM   Subscribe

 
Oh boy does starbucks need a union. Although their workers are so widely distributed from store to store that it might seem hard to organize the whole company we've got the internet now. It should be possible to get a critical mass of employers to sign authorization cards and call a vote. And strike! Imagine all of america caffeine starved. SEIU needs an app for that.
posted by dis_integration at 8:19 AM on August 30, 2017 [5 favorites]


What is infuriating about all of this is - every time a company does the basic modicum of a good thing (in this case, a partial good thing with a status quo shitty thing for the majority of its workforce), some unthinking media shill trying to maintain their ad account with the huge corporation will facilitate an advertortial about how things are changing at corporation X and they're aware and doing something really progressive about it!

We need to stop congratulating any corporation for providing benefits to its employees - even ones who provide better than they're required to by law. There is no benevolence and nothing to congratulate - it's a strategy to attract predominantly white, affluent and privileged people to work with privileges they expect when they show up to work. It's also a strategy to hit the predominantly white, affluent and privileged shoppers who want to feel better about their consumption but don't actually want to do anything different.

Providing worker benefits isn't innovation - this is being decades behind where worker co-ops and union shops are. Corporations are dinosaurs in this arena and anything saying otherwise is an ad. Full stop.
posted by notorious medium at 8:47 AM on August 30, 2017 [26 favorites]


Oh boy does starbucks need a union. Although their workers are so widely distributed from store to store that it might seem hard to organize the whole company we've got the internet now. It should be possible to get a critical mass of employers to sign authorization cards and call a vote. And strike! Imagine all of america caffeine starved.

This reminds me of how Cook County instituted a pretty stiff per ounce sweetened beverage tax that even includes artificially sweetened beverages but carved out an exception for coffee.

Politicians know what will get them murdered and what won't.
posted by srboisvert at 9:01 AM on August 30, 2017 [5 favorites]


Imagine all of america caffeine starved.

All of America doesn't drink Charbucks coffee.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:29 AM on August 30, 2017 [7 favorites]


Perhaps not, but if you think your local indie shop is also giving their employees mat leave if they need it, they aren't . Hell, when I was a barista at an indie shop, the owners never failed to remind us that they were so generous to pay for a little bit of health insurance, so we'd better be grateful. (It was shit insurance and I still ended up paying more out of pocket than I made when I used it.)
posted by Kitteh at 9:44 AM on August 30, 2017 [12 favorites]


Why isn't "her break is 10 minutes shorter than she needs to pump milk" covered by the nursing break times provision of the ACA?
posted by the agents of KAOS at 9:49 AM on August 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


All of America doesn't drink Charbucks coffee.

All of America doesn't drink coffee, period.

More pointedly, my god am I tired of the different standards companies like Starbucks employ for retail or customer-facing service employees vs white-collar administration workers. The problem isn't necessarily any specific company, it's that retail employees and customer service workers are expected to produce infinitely flexible, accomodating work on demand for ever-hungry corporations who seem to view them less as people than as interchangable cogs for untrained labor. The same corporations who pat themselves on the back for taking care of their non-retail employees will fuck the lower-wage workers on the ground over without blinking an eye.

Retail workers and shift workers deserve better than this bullshit.
posted by sciatrix at 10:00 AM on August 30, 2017 [36 favorites]


Retail workers and shift workers deserve better than this bullshit.

See also staff vs. faculty (often tenured/tenure-track) at many academic institutions or professional vs. paraprofessional in some settings. Staff getting 2 weeks paid parental leave versus faculty getting an entire semester paid? The people who teach the classes (and churn out research) are valued, but the people who make sure everything behind the scenes runs smoothly aren't.
posted by carrioncomfort at 11:27 AM on August 30, 2017 [9 favorites]


See also staff vs. faculty (often tenured/tenure-track) at many academic institutions or professional vs. paraprofessional in some settings. Staff getting 2 weeks paid parental leave versus faculty getting an entire semester paid? The people who teach the classes (and churn out research) are valued, but the people who make sure everything behind the scenes runs smoothly aren't.

Don't worry, that particular inequality is ending pretty soon. In public universities at least.
posted by FakeFreyja at 11:36 AM on August 30, 2017 [5 favorites]


Wait a tick, you mean to tell me that Starbucks of all corporations shit on their laborers? Color me not surprised.
posted by Sphinx at 2:12 PM on August 30, 2017


This academic is weeping a bit at that. You think the adjunct faculty are getting those fully paid semesters at most universities? Because boy oh boy I got some bad news for you. Ditto the grad students and postdocs--I know someone whose PI asked her to put together some analysis for him the literal day after she gave birth. When you're on a two-year contract paid by a grant with a deadline or your status as an employee vs a student is a matter of informal debate and depends on who you ask, maternity leave is heavily dependent on the mercy of your immediate supervisor.

I suppose it's easy enough to offer cushy maternal leave at career stages that tend to be first reached by women who have made serious relationship sacrifices in their personal lives to attain them, and usually no earlier than their thirties. It's convenient that they're harder to actually cash out on then.
posted by sciatrix at 2:15 PM on August 30, 2017 [5 favorites]


You think the adjunct faculty are getting those fully paid semesters at most universities?

I'm pretty sure they meant it the other way round - academics will be down to the same benefits as admin staff.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 3:35 PM on August 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


Yes, I was addressing carrioncomfort.
posted by sciatrix at 4:46 PM on August 30, 2017


We need to stop congratulating any corporation for providing benefits to its employees - even ones who provide better than they're required to by law.

I think the opposite is true -- when a company does better than the minimum, that should be used to shame other companies (be they similar behemoths or local independent stores) that are doing only the minimum (or sometimes, much less than the minimum).
posted by Dip Flash at 5:26 PM on August 30, 2017


SEIU needs an app for that.
Desperately. The closest thing I have heard of is unionize.me but I think it's defunct.
posted by books for weapons at 7:25 PM on August 30, 2017


it's a strategy to attract predominantly white, affluent and privileged people to work with privileges they expect when they show up to work. It's also a strategy to hit the predominantly white, affluent and privileged shoppers who want to feel better about their consumption but don't actually want to do anything different.


notorious medium, what are you suggesting? That the non-white, poor and underprivileged will only work in unionized corporations and don't drink at SB? I understand you are probably ranting, but I just want to know where that thinking comes from.
posted by Laotic at 10:35 PM on August 30, 2017


Perhaps using often as a modifier was too optimistic that somewhere out there adjuncts and other non-tenured faculty are treated better. The particular academic sphere I have in mind only offers semester-long paid parental leave to tenured & tenure-track faculty & MLS-holding librarians who have have been there something like 4+ years.
posted by carrioncomfort at 5:46 AM on August 31, 2017


notorious medium, what are you suggesting? That the non-white, poor and underprivileged will only work in unionized corporations and don't drink at SB? I understand you are probably ranting, but I just want to know where that thinking comes from.

I can't possibly understand how you think that's what my comment is about.

I am sure you have heard that executive compensation is so high because it's required to attract the best talent - that's entirely due to privilege. People's expectations come from their upbringing - if your peers have great health and dental, and your parents had great health and dental, you will expect the same from your employers.

We know categorically that privileged people have an inside track to corporate jobs - one, due to access to better education from birth and support as they're studying, and two, because networks and nepotism are often involved in getting people's careers started. White, rich people have an easier track to the corporate jobs and come in with the expectation that there will be good benefits because everyone they know has them.

Think of it this way - if Starbucks thought they could attract those people to their corporate jobs without benefits, they wouldn't have them and would pass the savings on to their shareholders. That's what corporations are built to do. There's no benevolence here, it's just a strategy to get privileged people to work there.
posted by notorious medium at 5:51 AM on August 31, 2017


Show your support of paid maternity leave by giving tips to waitresses (and baristas) who don't actually serve you because they are off due to a pregnancy.

Next time you hire a contractor, tutor, lawn care, go to a business that is operated by the sole proprietor, etc, make sure you pay double so that a pregnant woman won't have to work.


With self-employed people and people who get most of their pay from tips, you are the effective employer. Are you willing to pay maternity pay?

While having a baby shouldn't put one at risk of bankruptcy due to losing one's income expecting all corporations to foot the bill isn't always realistic.

You then run into problems of leave being denied to certain genders being unfair.

Perhaps there is a need for some sort of tax-payer funded program to help provide maternity pay in part or fully
posted by 2manyusernames at 5:44 AM on September 1, 2017


Are you really suggesting that we begin stalking food service employees so that we can know their health status, find them and give them money when they're not working? That's some creepy shit.

Oh, of course you weren't, you were making the silliest suggestion you could to put up a nonsensical strawman in order to knock it down and say "see? Maternity pay doesn't make sense!@!!2 Just like sick leave doesn't make sense because you aren't willing to go harass your electrician when he's home with gastro!"

But glib and silly as your comment was, I did want to point out that it is not unfair to provide a benefit to only the people who need it. Women who don't give birth don't get maternity leave. Men who don't give birth also don't get maternity leave. Of course, at my company, men and women who either birth or adopt a child are eligible for paid parental leave in the same way, so if you are deepy concerned about tricking your superficial understanding of 'unfairness', you could advocate for that.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 12:40 PM on September 3, 2017 [2 favorites]


agents of kaos, you don't comprehend what I wrote. None of it was silly, nor glib. It certainly wasn't nonsense. All of that is your attempt to dismiss my points without actually the burden of actually discussing them.
posted by 2manyusernames at 12:03 PM on September 8, 2017


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