Starbucks Baristas File Fair Workweek Complaints Against Coffee Giant

Starbucks baristas in Chicago have filed 10 complaints alleging that the company violated the city’s Fair Workweek Ordinance. The law requires employers to give staff advance notice of their schedules and pay a premium for last-minute changes. It also requires employers to offer part-time employees additional hours before hiring new workers to fill shifts. The complaints were filed by 14 baristas who work across three unionized stores in the city, which are unionized with Starbucks Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union.

The baristas allege that Starbucks violated the ordinance by not providing “good faith” estimates of their typical weekly schedules and by not paying workers the higher rate of pay required by law when their shifts are changed at the last minute. They also alleged that Starbucks has violated the ordinance by hiring new baristas to cover shifts before offering them to existing staff.

The baristas are not alleging that Starbucks has violated the component of the ordinance that requires the company to provide 14 days’ notice of their weekly schedules. However, they allege that Starbucks failed to comply with a provision of the law that requires employers give workers a “good faith” estimate of the average number of hours they can expect to work in a week as well as a set of days and times employees can expect their shifts to take place for the first 90 days of their employment.

Staffords have invested significant resources to ensure partner scheduling practices are in alignment with Chicago’s Fair Workweek ordinance. Labor board officials have accused the company of a wide range of labor law violations throughout the union push, including by firing union leaders and closing cafes in response to union drives.

Since Chicago’s fair workweek law took effect in summer 2020, the city’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection’s Office of Labor Standards has received 389 complaints under the law. The city has cited five employers for violations of the ordinance and collected fines totaling $71,000. Employees of the cited employers have received a total of $460,000 in restitution.

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