The company took a lot of heat in 2014 when The New York Times described scheduling practices that made some employees miserable. But the coffee giant says its policies and software have changed in important ways since then.
Starbucks says it gives employees more advance notice and makes sure of more rest between shifts than it did when a 2014 New York Times story described scheduling practices that made some workers miserable.
The coffee company now requires U.S. store managers to post workers’ schedules 14 days in advance, up from 10 previously. Its scheduling software now prevents managers from booking employees to work shifts with less than an eight-hour break in between, Starbucks says.
The company says it has never used on-call scheduling and has always tried to give available hours to part-time employees who request them. It offers full benefits to employees who work 20 hours a week or more.
The company’s contact center, where employees call in with concerns, now has a special team to deal with scheduling issues. Fewer than 3 percent of those calls concern scheduling, said spokeswoman Jaime Riley.
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Ilana Greenberg, a barista at the Starbucks drive-through on Elliott Avenue West in Seattle, says that at her store the manager is good about getting schedules out to employees two weeks in advance.
But she’s heard from baristas at other stores who’ve gotten their schedules only three to four days in advance, and employees who’ve worked “clopening” shifts or “doubles” — working two shifts a day at different stores.
Greenberg, who volunteers as an organizer with the union-backed Working Washington, acknowledges that some of those instances are likely due to the workers’ own choices. But sometimes, she says, “The manager will come up to a partner [employee] and say, ‘Can you work this shift?’ and it’s clear from phrasing and tone of voice that you don’t really have the option of saying no.”
Starbucks acknowledges that sometimes, practice doesn’t always meet company policy. “We’re not perfect,” said spokeswoman Riley. “We know there’s still work to be done.”