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Starbucks maternity leave makes baristas moan

by | 31st, August 2017

When the BBC produced its list of earners, I’m sure you like me were aghast that not everyone earned the same. Also, footballers. Why is one paid more than another for doing the same job? Molly Redden is astounded. In a Guardian story sponsored by The Rockefeller Foundation, she says: “At Starbucks, your maternity leave depends on whether you’re a barista or a boss – One rule for corporate office employees, another for those who work in stores: unequal parental leave is splitting the company in two.”

So everyone at Starbucks and every other company, including The Guardian, should get the same perks. And what about the Rockefellers?

The Foundation was started by Standard Oil owner John D. Rockefeller (“Senior”), along with his son John D. Rockefeller Jr. (“Junior”), and Senior’s principal oil and gas business and philanthropic advisor, Frederick Taylor Gates, in New York State on May 14, 1913, when its charter was formally accepted by the New York State Legislature. Its stated mission is “promoting the well-being of humanity throughout the world.”

The Rockefellers were rich. Very rich. The Svabeniks, a family of three children with another on the way, are less well off. Redden writes of them:

Jess resents having to make the choice at all so soon after giving birth. As a retail employee of the country’s most profitable coffee chain, she is entitled to six weeks of parental leave at partial pay after Roman is born. (Her leave will probably be unpaid, since she has worked at Starbucks for less than one year.) But starting on 1 October, employees at Starbucks’ Seattle headquarters – just an hour’s drive from Jess’s home – and its other corporate offices will be entitled to 16 weeks of fully paid leave upon giving birth, and fathers or adoptive parents will get 12.

Announcing the new policy in January, Starbucks called it “reflective of our mission and commitment to be a different kind of company and put our people first”.

But the new policy doesn’t increase the length of leave for in-store workers who give birth, or for new fathers and adoptive parents, who will continue to get none…

As the company’s announcement received laudatory headlines, Jess joined a group of Starbucks baristas and store managers in asking the company: why are we treated differently

Why aren’t all workers paid the same?

“It is in no way fair to the average worker,” Jess says. “You can’t have corporate without us. So why would one have a better benefit than the other?”

America should offer paid maternity leave as in the UK. But the idea that all workers at a large company are of equal worth to the company is absurd.



Posted: 31st, August 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Money Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink