“Even if you don't accept my premise, you're assuming the alternative is true, which is that the corporate advancement system is just and fair and totally merit based. This is a pretty idealistic assumption that would be tough to prove based on all the research that's been done on how advancement works in corporations.
As far as the going market rate for baristas go, you're overly dramatizing what would happen if they were to pay baristas a livable wage. It would most certainly not mean Starbucks would triple their prices. Starbucks has made huge profits in the past several years and is sitting on large amounts of cash, which alone could be used to bump their partner's wages up to more sustainable levels. Besides, you're assuming the barista labor market is an ideal free market, which it isn't. Starbucks is the largest employer of baristas in the world by a long shot and as such has much greater market power over the going wage of baristas than any other company. It should use its scale and market power for good, as the company claims to do in its mission statement.
Even if smaller price increases had to occur to bring the average wage of a barista up to somewhere around a modest $30,000, I think most people would think it would be worth it if they knew their local barista was not living in poverty and could actually support their family.”
“Ya I mentioned that they do deserve to be commended for offering pretty affordable healthcare and providing some small stock grants (serveral hundred dollars worth) to most employees each year.
But there's obviously more to an employees life than what they have to pay for at the doctors office or in a surgery room. They obviously still need to be able to pay their rent or mortgage, they need to be able to buy food for them and/or their family, and need to be able to pay for any other miscellaneous bills like heat, electric, auto.
All I'm ultimately saying is that if Starbucks really wants to help create decent and respectable family-sustaining American jobs and wants to treat all people with diginity, then it needs to do better by its employees first.”
“But unfortunately ascending the corporate ladder system is much more fickle and less rational than you think. Take any corporate organization or corporate management classes and you'll learn that the number one statistical predictor of whether you advance in any company is not how hard you work or how much you sacrifice for the good of the company, it's actually whether your direct supervisor likes you or not.
This blows the theory of "all you need to do to advance in a corporation like Starbucks and to make a livable wage is work hard" out of the water. It's much more along the less inspirational lines of kiss your manager's ass and you just might eventually become one too.
I'm not saying they need to pay their baristas as much as $50,000 a year. Just more decently than a poverty-line $18,000 a year. Because some baristas might not want to play games like kiss-ass in order to become a manager just in order to make a livable wage for them or their loved ones. Nor should they have to. Your typical barista deserves just as much respect and dignity as your typical bartender, barber, office worker, or factory worker.”
Dan French on Jul 10, 2012 at 21:45:44
“Even if I accept your premise, the best way to make your supervisor like you is by making him or her look good. You do that with competence, application, and other similar attributes . If the corporate personality is such that the best way to endear oneself to your boss is by something negative, that organization is doomed in the long run. (I'm a retired CEO). The value of a persons labor is not a function of what they need nor of the cost of raising a family. It is a function of what the market will bear. How do you think the market would respond to $10 latte?”
“While what Schultz and Starbucks are trying to do for the country here is great, their efforts are greatly undermined by the fact that they are a big part of the job problem.
Selling coffee at the premium they do, Starbucks should be able to pay their very hard-working baristas enough to make a decent living wage for them and their family. But this is not the case as the average wage for a barista at Starbucks is only about a very low $18,000-19,000 a year. Far less than what one would expect for a company who talks about their high values and renewing the Ameican Dream all the time.
While Starbucks should be commended for offering its workers reasonably priced health-care coverage and some stock, and I'm not saying a barista needs to become rich in their work, I am saying that Starbucks wages are more along the lines of dead-end service jobs than decent family-sustaining jobs, and so Starbucks needs to take a look in the mirror before it lectures the rest of the country on politics.”
PaganKMcK on Jul 7, 2012 at 16:04:50
“As I understand it Starbucks does give their employees health insurance and stock.”
Dan French on Jul 7, 2012 at 08:50:25
“Thank goodness for so called "dead end jobs.". They are the perfect incubator for new entrants into the job market for young (and some old), untested, and inexperienced people to show they can learn, be reliable, act with integrity, and begin their ascent through the system. If you think Starbucks is expensive now, wait til they start paying Baristas $50,000 per yeay”