Starbucks Baristas Trying To Keep Higher-Ups’ Grubby Paws Out Of The Tip Jar

Anyone who’s ever worked a job where customers are encouraged to dump their change or heck, even a wonderful dollar into a tip jar knows how coveted those tips are. That’s why Starbucks baristas are in a fight in New York to keep shift supervisors and managers out of the tip jar. The fewer people entitled to tips, the more money each barista gets after a shift serving up venti extra caramel no whip low foam frappywhatchacallits.

The labor laws in New York aren’t so clear on who gets a cut of the tip jars. Right now, Starbucks’ policy says shift supervisors are entitled to a share, but not managers. Baristas obviously want to keep the pool small, arguing that they’re the ones who do all the face-time with customers, day in and day out.

The Court of Appeals was asked by a federal court to study the labor laws, reports CBS News. Right now it says that employers’ “agents,” or employees that act on their behalf, can’t be part of tip-sharing. That’s the part of the law that needs to be defined.

Assistant managers don’t get gratuities, but oh, do they want them because it’s money and who doesn’t want more of that on the job? But they also get salaries, are full-time and also are rewarded with performance-based bonuses and other benefits not available to their subordinates.”

All of that is why Starbucks currently doesn’t allow them to dip into the tips, too. The company said its assistant managers are excluded from tips because they are full-time, salaried and “rewarded with

“The baristas work more on the floor,” a Manhattan barista told CBS. “Yes, managers do interact with customers but it’s more the baristas who connect with the customers so they deserve the tips more.”

The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals is in the midst of reviewing separate lawsuits against Starbucks’ by baristas and then also by assistant managers seeking to get their hands on some extra money. That’s why the Court of Appeals needs to clear up this “agent” definition.

The way the managers see it, if the shift supervisors get tips, they should do. But supervisors serve customers on occasion, in addition to assigning job stations and coordinating breaks, etc., while managers usually do not. The baristas want everyone to just keep their grubby paws off their jar.

What do you think?

N.Y.’s top court to decide who can tap Starbucks’ tip jars [CBS News]