Sammy Nickalls
September 24, 2015 10:03 am

As much as we love our Starbucks fix, we don’t love the latest news that comes from the New York Times about how the company treats its team. As the Times highlights, last year, Starbucks vowed to treat its employees better, providing them with more consistent schedules and stopping the “clopening” ritual — asking the same worker to close the shop one night and open it early the next morning — that robs its employees of much-needed shut-eye.

Unfortunately, Starbucks hasn’t exactly made good on its word, according to a report released on Wednesday by the Center for Popular Democracy, a nonprofit that works with community groups. The report included responses from approximately 200 Starbucks baristas in the United States. . . and most of those baristas said that they often receive their schedules a week or less in advance, that their schedules are inconsistent. Two of them also said their store regularly “clopens.”

“We’re the first to admit we have work to do,” Starbucks spokeswoman Jaime Riley, who maintains that baristas all receive their schedules 10 days or more in advance, told the Times. “But we feel like we’ve made good progress, and that doesn’t align with what we’re seeing.”

However, according to employees at Starbucks, the morale hasn’t been so fantastic. “The mood lately has not been super positive; they’ve been cutting labor pretty drastically,” Matthew Haskins, a shift supervisor at a Starbucks in Seattle, told the Times. “There are many days when we find ourselves incredibly — not even a skeletal staff, just short-staffed.”

And when a barista is sick, they are responsible for finding their own replacement. “A lot of times when I’m really sick, it’s less work to work the shift than to call around everywhere,” Starbucks barista Kyle Weisse told the Times.

The Times article outlined various issues and grievances employees had with the inner workings of the company at length, and now, according to TIME, the company has responded to the article with an internal memo to the staff. “While we cannot validate this survey, the findings suggest, contrary to the expectations we have in place, that some partners are receiving their schedules less than one week in advance and that there is a continuing issue with some partners working a close and then an opening shift the following morning,” the memo, signed by Starbucks U.S. and Americans president Cliff Burrows, says.

“Improving the staffing and scheduling experience in our stores is one of our highest priorities,” the memo continues. “We want to staff and schedule in a way that is predictable and consistent for all partners and recognizes partner preferences.”

The memo asked Starbucks store managers to “to go the extra mile to ensure partners have a consistent schedule — free of back-to-back close and open shifts that are less than 8 hours apart — that is posted 2 weeks in advance” while imploring employees to maintain “open conversations with your store manager letting them know how things are going for you.”

Clearly, something major needs to change at Starbucks, but we’re happy that this memo seems to address the crazy schedules Starbucks baristas have to deal with on a day-to-day basis.

(Image via Shutterstock.)

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