Local Froth

April 4, 2008 at 6:10 am Leave a comment

The lastest crack in the armor.

Tips at Center of Stabucks Suit

by amy zimmer / metro new york

APR 4, 2008

MANHATTAN. The lawsuits against Starbucks — still steamed from a recent ruling by a California judge ordering to pay more than $100 million in tips and interests to baristas — are frothing over.

Jeana Barenboim, 22, a former barista at a Forest Hills Starbucks, filed a federal lawsuit against the coffee giant yesterday in the Southern District of New York. A similar suit was filed last week in Boston.

Like the California case, these former baristas claim they were forced to share tips with shift supervisors.

Because they are part of management and are not tipped employees, it’s illegal for the supervisors to share tips with the servers, said Barenboim’s lawyer Maimon Kirschenbaum. Both lawsuits are seeking class action certification, which would affect thousands of workers.

According to Starbucks, the company’s tip policy allows hourly workers — baristas and shift supervisors — to customer tips.

“Shift supervisors are not managers and have no managerial authority,” a Starbucks statement said.

Some supervisors see themselves as management, some don’t, said Daniel Gross, a former Starbucks employee and organizer for the IWW Starbucks Union, which represents baristas and supervisors.

“Some baristas say the ‘shifts’ are all over the floor with them, making drinks, cleaning bathrooms, operating the cash register,” he said.

“It would mean more money for everybody,” said Pete Montalbano, 25, a barista at an East Village Starbucks. “Tips make up 15 percent of my take home. We would get more in tips and Starbucks would have to compensate the shift supervisors for the money they would be getting otherwise.”

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Entry filed under: Forest Hills.

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