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More Than 11,000 People Sign Online Petition About Worker Morale At Starbucks

Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine

More than 11,000 people have signed an online petition saying Starbucks has been cutting workers’ hours, leading to low morale. 

The petition is the brainchild of Jaime Prater, an artist who’s worked for Starbucks off and on for a total of nine years. Right now he works as a barista at a Starbucks in Southern California. 

He said recently the company has been cutting people’s hours in an effort to boost profits and that’s leaving stores understaffed. Prater said that left him fed up and he decided to go public with his frustrations.

"At least give people the hours to make them feel like they’re valued so that they can pay their bills," Prater said. 

Starbucks spokeswoman Jaime Riley said Chief Executive Howard Schultz spoke with Prater to learn more about his concerns. She said there's no top-down policy directing stores to cut workers’ hours. Instead, she said each manager has to balance business needs with the needs of the workers. Starbucks has 160,000 workers in the U.S., according to Riley.

The issue of hourly workers facing unpredictable schedules has grabbed the attention of two Seattle City Council members. They're working on a possible ordinance that may, for example, require employers to compensate workers if their hours are cut at the last minute. 

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.