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Starbucks Will Pay Employees to Volunteer up to Half Their Time

Starbucks Will Pay Employees to Volunteer up to Half Their Time

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Starbucks' team members will be able to work up to 20 hours per week with local nonprofits outside of the chain's cafés.

Teaming up with international nonprofit organization Points of Light, Starbucks has selected 36 "fellows" from 13 different cities to be among the first group of employees participating in the program. All of the local nonprofits in these cities are aligned with Starbucks' official corporate outreach initiatives, which include sustainability, combating world hunger, and serving veterans and their families.

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According to CNN, the initial 36 employees will spend at least 20 hours each week working in their designated Starbucks' cafés before spending another 20 hours working with a chosen nonprofit in the local community.

Virginia Tenpenny, the executive director of the Starbucks Foundation, told CNN that the company hopes that the program will help retain employees as well as improve morale. "When the fellows are "engaged in communities and they feel connected, they're going to stay with Starbucks longer," Tenpenny said.

Are you a frequent Starbucks customer? Read more:

The Starbucks Foundation will be covering employees' salaries as they leave coffee counters to volunteer in their communities, and if the pilot goes well, there will be a new (and much larger) group of Starbucks' employees who will join other local nonprofits next year.

Starbucks' employees will not only have a chance to do some volunteer work—Tenpenny said the first group of fellows will have the opportunity to recommend where the foundation will direct resources.

As Starbucks was one of the first companies to ban plastic straws, a practice that much of the industry soon followed, we could see other chain businesses thinking about investing more into their local communities soon.

5 Major Changes You'll See at Starbucks Moving Forward

Starbucks will not look the same in most cities by the middle of next year, as the coffee chain plans to make some big changes to its current store layout.

The company isn't waiting for the world to go back to normal and knows that in order to survive, it needs to make some key changes to its current business model. Long gone are the days where we could sit in a Starbucks cafe and sip on our favorite latte. In order to continue accommodating its loyal customers' needs, the chain is gradually transitioning several of its cafes into a space that's more convenient for to-go orders.

Below, you'll see the top five major changes you'll be seeing at Starbucks soon. And for pandemic-related updates, check out 8 Grocery Items That May Soon Be in Short Supply.

‘Coffee-making robots’: Starbucks staff face intense work and customer abuse

Some workers at Starbucks have described understaffing at stores, intense workloads, and customers who have changed their ordering habits and become increasingly aggressive and confrontational during the coronavirus pandemic.

Throughout the pandemic, Starbucks workers around the US have faced several reported incidents of being verbally abused or physically assaulted by customers over coronavirus safety protocols.

In March 2021, Starbucks shareholders rejected an executive compensation plan for CEO Kevin Johnson in a non-binding vote, as dozens of corporations have boosted executive pay while many of their rank-and-file workers have struggled during the coronavirus pandemic.

Many Starbucks workers say their pay is still too low for what has become more intense work.

“I’m not compensated enough for the amount of work that I do, because I’m still struggling to pay my bills, pay my rent, and buy groceries. I’ve been living paycheck to paycheck and it’s really hard to save money. I give so much of my time and energy to this job and the compensation doesn’t measure up to the amount of work that we have to do,” said a Starbucks shift supervisor in New York who requested to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.

They added: “The labor hours we get are not enough for the sheer volume of orders that we have to produce. They’re asking way too much of us and a lot of the time I don’t have enough people on the floor to do all the things that Starbucks asks us to do.”

The workers explained they are regularly subjected to customer satisfaction surveys where they are at risk of being written up if they fail the surveys and the pressure to meet drive-thru time quotas, as drive-thru sales and an emphasis on drive-thrus from Starbucks corporate have increased during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Starbucks definitely took this turn to becoming just another fast-food drive-thru,” added the Starbucks shift supervisor. “They want us to just be these robots that move fast, we’re just little drones to them that just need to pump out as many lattes as we can in a half-hour.”

The percentage of Starbucks’ sales through mobile orders has grown significantly over the past several years, from 10% of all sales at the end of 2017 to 24% at the end of 2020.

The retail chain also expanded delivery service around the US through Uber Eats in the beginning of 2020. Workers say the different methods of orders, mobile, drive-thru, delivery and in-person, have increased their workloads and disrupted their customer service capabilities as well as seeing staff leave, leading to more pressure on remaining employees.

“With mobile order or delivery, we can’t always clarify what they want and people will get very mad over sort of little stuff when you’ve made the drink almost perfectly, and it’s frustrating to feel like you can’t say we can’t really make it that way, so people treat us like coffee-making robots,” said a Starbucks barista in Maryland, who said they believed customer service has been prioritized over safety concerns and respect for workers during the pandemic.

They said: “I’ve been chastised for asking people to wear their masks correctly or asking people to put their masks back on because people like to take their masks up specifically to talk to us and the plastic barriers we have up, people will bang on them like they’re glass.”

In Massachusetts, a Starbucks barista explained they are still concerned about coronavirus even though they are vaccinated, as their infant daughter is not. But Starbucks is one of several retail chains that are adhering to CDC guidelines permitting vaccinated individuals to not wear masks in stores, though workers have no way of differentiating between customers who are vaccinated and those who are not.

“Working during this pandemic has been a terrifying experience. It’s been almost unbearable and a few times, I’ve almost wanted to quit because it gets to the point we don’t get paid enough to deal with verbal abuse from customers on a daily basis,” the barista said.

On top of the pressures of the pandemic, other social trends have hit hard too. Complicated, long drink orders have also become increasingly normal, workers say, due to viral TikTok videos of users sharing secret menu drinks or their own recipes, while mobile orders don’t limit the amount or type of modifications permitted for each drink.

A Starbucks barista was recently fired in May 2021 after they made a social media post complaining of a drink order with several modifications that went viral.

“These orders are driving us insane because they’re so long, so specific and it requires you to do much more work than you should be doing for one single drink and they’re not being adequately translated into our labor hours,” added another Starbucks shift supervisor in New York.

A Starbucks spokesperson told the Guardian in an email, “Our 200,000 partners across the US are the best people in the business, and their experiences are key to helping us make Starbucks a meaningful and inspiring place to work. We offer a world-class benefits program for all part- and full-time partners and continued support for partners during Covid-19 to care for themselves and their families, and we continue to have an industry-leading retention rate.”

Starbucks Announces New Backup Childcare Benefits

(CNN) — Starbucks is sweetening the pot for employees with a new family care benefit.

The company announced on Tuesday that it will provide workers with ten subsidized backup care days for children or adults.

Starbucks (SBUX) announced an expansive new set of benefits in January. At the time, the company said that it was giving all baristas sick leave plus $500 in stock grants ($2000 for store managers). Starbucks also announced higher wages and paid parental leave for up to six weeks, including for non-birth parents.

The new care policy “is the final piece of the puzzle,” said Ron Crawford, vice president of benefits at Starbucks.

Starbucks noted that 2 million working parents quit their jobs in 2016 because of child care, according to the National Survey of Children’s Health. It says it is among the largest retailers in the United States to offer the benefit.

The company is partnering with, a digital platform that connects caregivers with people who need them, to implement the benefit.

Employees can choose to pay $1 an hour for in-home care of children or adults or $5 a day for each child at a center. After the ten days, workers pay the full cost for services offered by

Employees will also receive a free premium membership to the site, and be able to speak with its senior advisers for free.

In addition to expanding its suite of benefits, Starbucks has been experimenting with creative ways to retain workers in a tight labor market.

The company said in August that it is testing a program that will allow some employees to spend half of their workweek at a local nonprofit. Starbucks Service Fellows work for nonprofits that align with Starbucks’ philanthropic priorities, which include supporting refugees, veterans and military families and youth, eliminating hunger, protecting the environment and offering disaster relief.

Starbucks has offered healthcare to all full-time and part-time employees since 1988. The company also covers tuition for an online bachelor’s degree.

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Starbucks Baristas Reveal the Reasons They Hate Working There

Current and former employees are speak out about the most challenging aspects of their job.

In anonymous interviews with Business Insider, Starbucks baristas revealed what working at the constantly busy and extremely profitable café is actually like for the hardworking folks who must sling coffee – and unicorn Frappuccinos – to demanding customers everyday.

They don’t paint a very flattering picture. For one thing, they aren’t paid enough.

“It&aposs not a company it&aposs a cult that pays $9 per hour,” one employee who worked there for a year before quitting revealed.

Another employee noted that while the company does “offer free college” through a 𠇌ollege-achievement program,” employees would rather take a higher pay grade.

“My team wants to be able to afford rent and groceries, the employee said.

On top of low wages, the baristas interviewed say that manning the café can be an exhausting task at understaffed locations – a scenario many people have probably witnessed on a weekday morning when it seems like swarms of people are trying to pick up their pick-me-up before heading to the office.

“Nothing gets cleaned. Nothing gets stocked. We&aposre getting screamed at by customers for not being fast enough, so we try to go fast, and we mess up the money, or we mess up the drinks, and then we get yelled at for messing up the money and messing up the drinks. It&aposs all incredibly tiresome,” one employee explained, later lamenting that even just one additional employee in the store to help out would be appreciated. Another barista said that trying to meet customers&apos needs quickly and efficiently coupled with corporate&aposs seemingly opposing directive to interact and chit chat with regulars was also a point of stress.

Employees say that part of this overwhelming work environment has to do with the fact that in many locations, there are sometimes mobile orders or a drive-through in addition to the in-store line, and in some cases, all three. But the company doesn’t seem to have accounted for all those extra orders in their hiring practices.

“Most stores are understaffed, and I believe that&aposs the way corporate wants it. Store managers would rather be shorthanded rather than pay a penny of overtime,” another employee griped.

Business Insider reports that Starbucks hasn’t seen any need to change how many people they’re hiring, and emphasizes that they do offer employees benefits on top of the tuition program, like a 401(k) program, and the ability to buy Starbucks stock. They also say that they’re working on the ways to make mobile ordering more efficient.

While Starbucks works on how to solve their employees’ complaints, remember to be nice to your barista. They’re clearly working hard to bring you America’s most popular coffee.

Always use the app to pay — as little as 25 points gets you a free customization

According to eMarketer, the Starbucks Rewards app is the most used proximity mobile payment app, used by over 23.4 million consumers ages 14 and up at least once every six months. Its popularity eclipses both Apple Pay and Google Pay. Certainly, Starbucks has succeeded in selling patrons on the app, but folks could use a refresher on just how important it is to use it every single time you buy something from Starbucks, because every purchase made with the app yields you stars or points which can eventually be redeemed for freebies.

“It’s absolutely amazing how so many people who patronize Starbucks on a daily basis don't utilize the app,” Joy Hearn, the founder of the consumer savings-oriented Facebook page Cards and Clips. “Within the app are hidden treasures so it's important to scan the app with every purchase you make. For instance, most people have no idea that for as little as 25 points you can add a free customization to your beverage order, or that on many occasions Starbucks will double the points on your purchases to make it quicker for you to redeem them for free food and beverages.”

Starbucks also touts games on the app that enable you the chance to win more goodies with your purchases.

“Their most recent Summer Game just ended,” notes Romy Taormina, a California resident and Starbucks regular. “I earned more than 600 points during the latest game, which is the equivalent of about $25 worth of free drinks.”

Many baristas consider Starbucks a career.


While some people wrongly believe service-industry jobs are stepping stones, your Starbucks barista may be on a career path already. Not only are many Starbucks employees earning degrees through the company's partnership with Arizona State University, but Starbucks' eagerness to hire from within also makes many baristas aspire to higher positions within the company. "Honestly, at the beginning, it was just a job to get me through school, but now that I've been with the company for almost 3 years, I could see myself moving into the head office and working here my whole life," wrote one barista.

The CEO of Starbucks won’t keep promises to his workers, but wants an end to “cynicism”

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who has somehow convinced himself there is public desire for him to be president, took a moment at yesterday’s board meeting to deliver some pious criticism of America’s unusually rancorous political season.

“Dysfunction and polarization have worsened,” the coffee entrepreneur said. Deep in a bout of Bloombergitis, Schultz warned of the failure of the American dream: “Sadly, our reservoir is running dry, depleted by cynicism, despair, division, exclusion, fear and indifference.”

“What is the role and responsibility of all of us, as citizens?” Schultz asked.

His employees have one answer: They want him to keep Starbucks’ promise to set their schedules at least 10 days in advance, and stop making them work consecutive shifts closing a location and then returning to open it early the next morning. So-called “clopening” shifts can entail working until 11pm and then starting again at 4am.

The scheduling problems have been an issue since at least 2014, when a New York Times investigation exposed how scheduling practices can be as problematic for workers as low pay or abusive treatment. The problem is especially difficult for parents, who must find a way to care for their children without knowing their work responsibilities more than a few days in advance.

The problem seems especially galling because the company uses scheduling software to match employee availability with the predicted demand. Experts suggest that this software could be used to provide more predictability for workers.

Starbucks has repeatedly said it will remedy these issues, but interviews with employees suggest they remain. The Center for Popular Democracy, a union-backed organization that runs advocacy campaigns for workers rights, published a survey of 200 workers (pdf) in September 2015 that found half received their schedules less than a week in advance and one in four worked the “clopening” shift.

Grant Medsker, who worked at a Starbucks in Seattle for about a year before quitting in January, told Quartz that managers often don’t follow dictates from headquarters. “Everyone runs their ship their own way, regardless of company policies,” he said.

Some franchise managers attribute the lack of follow-through on the company’s promise on schedules to pressure from higher-ups to keep labor costs down, which leads to chronic understaffing. Meanwhile, Starbucks earnings per share more than doubled between 2011 and 2015 in fiscal 2015 it had an operating income of $3.6 billion.

Quartz reached out to Starbucks but has not received a response. In the past, the company has noted that many of its employees see a flexible schedule as a perk, rather than a hindrance. The company also provides its part-time employees with access to health insurance and educational benefits that it says are more generous than comparable companies.

But given the company’s history of dubious social responsibility campaigns, it’s hard to see this failure to implement corporate policy as an accident. This is, after all, the executive who announced a personal boycott of political spending even as his company spent millions on lobbying.

“It’s not enough to talk about it, it’s not enough to say, ‘oh that’s really bad, I hope that changes,'” said Medsker, who volunteers with the labor-rights group Working Washington. ”We have an obligation to change what is wrong with our society.”

“It’s not about the choice we make every four years,” Schultz said yesterday. “This is about the choices we make every day.”

Starbucks doesn't donate to candidates, but it has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying

Starbucks does, however, spend a significant amount of money lobbying. In the first half of 2020, Starbucks spent $520,000 lobbying the federal government, according to data from the Senate Office of Public Records analyzed by The Center for Responsive Politics.

So far this year, Starbucks retained 27 lobbyists from firms including Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, K&L Gates, and Monument Advocacy. They lobbied government leaders on far-ranging issues including immigration, sustainability, employee mental health benefits, and civic engagement, according to public records.

Starbucks has spent roughly $1 million lobbying every year since 2017. Ongoing topics in years past have been tax reform (including issues related to foreign income), veterans' employment, and issues related to food donation.

Spending more than half a million dollars on lobbying in two quarters is not uncommon for a chain of Starbucks' size. McDonald's spent $940,000 so far this year, while Taco Bell and KFC parent company Yum Brands spent $620,000.

Starbucks also pays annual dues of more than $50,000 to three trade organizations, including the National Restaurant Association, which use part of these funds for lobbying purposes.

Starbucks Will Start Paying Employees To Volunteer 20 Hours A Week

(CNN Money) — Starbucks is paying employees to give back.

The company announced on Thursday that it is testing a program that will allow some employees to spend half of their workweek at a local nonprofit.

With the help of Points of Light, a nonprofit volunteering group, Starbucks picked 36 Starbucks Service Fellows in 13 cities for the pilot program. For six months, the fellows will spend at least 20 hours per week working for Starbucks, and up to 20 hours per week at a local organization.

The Fellows are working for nonprofits that align with Starbucks’ philanthropic priorities, which include supporting refugees, veterans and military families and youth, eliminating hunger, protecting the environment and offering disaster relief.

Virginia Tenpenny, vice president of Global Social Impact at Starbucks and executive director of The Starbucks Foundation, said that Starbucks sees the program as a way to keep employees happy. The fellows are spread across stores, and Tenpenny hopes they will talk up the program to their colleagues.

When employees are “engaged in communities and they feel connected, they’re going to stay with Starbucks longer,” Tenpenny said.

And when local communities see Starbucks employees give back, they feel good about buying from the brand.

“That’s all great for business,” she said.

Through grants to Points of Light, The Starbucks Foundation is covering the salaries of employees. The program launched last week.

More than 200 people applied for the pilot program, Points of Light said.

If all goes well, a new cohort will be selected for the fall of 2019, Tenpenny said. Ideally, Starbucks will expand the program beyond 36 people. This year’s fellows are hourly employees and are eligible for Starbucks benefits.

The program launches at a time when employee retention is particularly important to American companies.

The US unemployment rate is at its lowest in 18 years, and there are more job openings than there are people looking for work. Some companies have reported candidates not showing up for interviews, or even their first day of work.

Tenpenny said that The Starbucks Foundation also takes recommendations from employees on where to donate funds. The Foundation announced on Thursday that it is giving $1.3 million in grants to a number of programs through its Opportunity for All program, which helps organizations that create and bolster economic opportunities for refugees, veterans and military families and youth.

She explained that employees who work with local nonprofits help inform where the money should be allocated. “They know the community needs better than we do here in Seattle.”

Starbucks also wants to be seen as a third place after work and home where customers can spend their time.

In May, the company changed its policy to explicitly state that customers don’t need to buy anything to spend time in stores or use the bathroom. The change came after an uproar over the arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia location.

Starbucks also conducted a mandatory racial-bias training, and promised more trainings in the future.

In July, the company announced that it is opening a store in Washington DC where every employee is proficient in American Sign Language. Gallaudet University, the world’s only liberal arts institution of higher learning for the deaf, is located in the city.

&trade & © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.