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Starbucks Cutting Employee Hours with Unclear Motive

By Brenna Powers

            CHATTANOOGA ( – According to a survey by Starbucks union members and supporters, Starbucks is cutting employee hours across the board, with two to 15 hours being cut from their weekly schedules.

            There are many concerns as to why Starbucks would randomly cut employee hours, but a possibility includes the recent complaint filed by the Starbucks Workers United organization.

            On March 1, the union representing Starbucks workers across the country filed a complaint with the Federal Labor Board. They explained that the company is cutting hours to try and interfere with workers who support union campaigns.

Starbucks Workers United rally on January 9, 2022.

        Starbucks Workers United explained that due to the cut hours, employees will find themselves ineligible for benefits such as health care coverage and the Starbucks College Achievement Plan. They go on to explain that it will ultimately lead to the discharge of employees.

            According to the organization, the hour cuts have been taking place in at least 20 states. Abby Etheredge, a Chattanooga State Community College student and former employee at Starbucks, explained that she had to leave the company due to cut hours.

            “Since they cut my hours, I barely had enough money to pay rent and other bills,” Etheredge said. “There was no prior warning, so I had to find a new job quickly.”

            According to employees, who have filed to unionize at over 130 Starbucks locations, management is trying to put them through obstacles and find reasons to cut hours. From a local standpoint, this has had a large impact on seven workers from Memphis, Tennessee.

Supporters rally in front of Memphis Starbucks location where seven pro-union employees were fired.

            According to The Washington Post’s news report, Starbucks allegedly fired seven union organizers last month, explaining they broke rules. The problem, however, is that the workers said these “rules” did not exist or had never been forced before.

            The evidence seems to point towards the unionizing efforts being the root of the hour cut problem, even though spokesperson Reggie Borges denies it.

            “We’ve been clear from the beginning,” Borges told Bloomberg. “Any claims of anti-union activity are categorically false.”

            So, the unionizing efforts may not be the reason Starbucks is cutting hours, but what could be the real issue? Lainey Barrow, a student at Lee University and current employee at Starbucks, weighed in on the issue, saying she was not exactly sure what could be causing the cut.

            “I am seeing my hours get cut right now,” Barrow said. “But this always tends to happen around March and April. It could also be because they can’t afford to pay people right now.”

Starbucks employees in their famous green aprons.

            According to a Distractify news report, one former Starbucks employee went to TikTok to let out her frustrations about her hours getting cut. She explained that she has bills to pay, and Starbucks’ overspending should not affect her livelihood.

            One student has faced this problem head-on, hearing that the reason he cannot be hired is due to the problem they cannot afford him. Mitchell O’Neil, a senior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, was denied an interview and was told by management they cannot afford to give him hours.

            “They basically told me they can’t hire me and blamed it as a corporate issue,” O’Neil said. “I only applied because they had a ‘now hiring’ sign out, but then was told I can’t move forward in the process due to lack of available hours to give out.”

            Whether or not the problem is due to Starbucks overspending or due to unionizing efforts across the country, employees should not be affected. Below is a news report regarding the seven employees who were fired from the Memphis location mentioned earlier; more detail concerning the unionizing situation is discussed in the story.

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