Connie Schultz Revisits Tip Issue in Column About Starbucks

By: E&P Staff

With her Wednesday column about the Starbucks tip controversy, Connie Schultz has returned to a subject that helped her win the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for commentary.

Back in 2004, The Plain Dealer of Cleveland writer did a column about how management at a local party center kept all the coat-check tips that customers thought were going to the coat-check workers. People reading about this in Schultz’s column were so outraged that the party center changed its policy almost immediately.

Today’s Schultz column was about a California judge ordering Starbucks to pay its low-wage coffee servers more than $100 million because the company allowed supervisors to take a share of tips.

Schultz acknowledged in the column that Starbucks supervisors apparently serve coffee, too, and might not get paid that much more than coffee-serving “baristas.”

But Schultz, whose column is distributed by Creators Syndicate, noted that there is an “unwritten contract with customers. Wherever there is a tip jar, there is an assumption about who gets the gratuity…. Managers know it’s wrong to pocket tips meant for their workers, but they also know most customers never suspect they would do such a thing.”

She added: “Starbucks supervisors work hard, and they should be paid for their efforts. The company should stop relying on customers’ generosity to compensate them adequately.”

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