Changes to Starbucks’ erratic system for scheduling its workers' hours can’t come quickly enough for Allison Montgomery.
“Starbucks is not catering to parents at all, it’s been going on for a long time,” Montgomery said Wednesday during a segment on HuffPost Live. “You’re at the mercy of the software.”
Her woes mirrored those of Jannette Navarro, the single mother profiled in a New York Times story published last week that exposed the plight of Starbucks workers balancing home life with the chain's irregular hours.
Since becoming a barista at the coffee chain two years ago, Montgomery, a single mother in Chester, Pennsylvania, has struggled to get her four children to daycare. Her unpredictable hours caused her wages to fluctuate, making it impossible to accurately document her income for government benefits. Montgomery said she was "cut off" from state-funded child care subsidies in part because she couldn't provide proof of a regular source of income. After she lost access to a car, Montgomery woke up at 3 a.m. to safely deliver her kids to a babysitter before beginning her commute by two separate buses to work.
"I can't tell you how many times I've had to panic before work, getting a babysitter or calling out, being late," Montgomery said. "It's hard to find reliable, affordable daycare."
Montgomery said she pleaded with her manager to give her more consistent hours, but said "nothing could ever be done about it."
Last week, Starbucks vowed to update its scheduling software to make hours more consistent and enforce new guidelines to discourage managers from slotting the same workers for back-to-back open and closing shifts. In a company-wide email, Cliff Burrows, Starbucks’ president for the U.S. and Americas, also pledged to post shifts at least one week in advance.
But worker advocates said the promised changes failed to secure steady hours for employees.
"Our regional leaders are reaching out to Allison to learn more about her specific situation and how we can help," Zack Hutson, a Starbucks spokesman, told The Huffington Post on Thursday. "Our success is a direct result of the relationship our [employees] have with our customers, and we believe we have a responsibility to support them in balancing their home and work lives."
He did not immediately reply to questions about how soon updates to the company's scheduling software would take effect.
“I’m not able to parent the way I’d like to,” Montgomery said. “I would like to just have a normal schedule, something I can look forward to.”
Updated with a statement from Starbucks