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Starbucks Owes Baristas $105 Million

Should Starbucks Owe Its Baristas $105 Million?

Lately, Starbucks has been as visible in the news as its stores are on the streets of San Francisco (and Manhattan, and Los Angeles, and...). The most recent headline features Starbucks and its tip jar — they made a California court appearance together, and the tip jar won. Well, more specifically, the baristas won $105 million in back tips in a suit surrounding the fact that Starbucks permitted shift supervisors to share tips. The New York Times explains that supervisors make coffee alongside baristas, but they also have managerial responsibilities like directing employees and setting schedules.

The baristas won because they had CA labor law in their favor. The law says that tips can be pooled among workers but owners and their "agents" (managers and supervisors) can't get a piece of the pool. Starbucks plans to appeal the decision and described it as “fundamentally unfair and beyond all common sense and reason.” Whose side are you on?


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