In a viral TikTok, a Starbucks barista made fun of shift supervisors who don’t help out during busy hours, sparking debate about Starbucks management.
The viral video, which has over 191,500 views and was posted by TikToker Rocio Najera (@rocoionajera), shows the barista in a back room at work imitating a manager sipping a drink and checking their phone as audio of a man screaming “help me, somebody fucking help me” plays in the background.
“POV: the lazy shift supervisor acting busy in the back while we’re struggling in the front with a line to the door,” the TikToker captioned the video. “Like get your ass on the floor.”
@rocionajera Like get your ass on the floor 💀💀 #starbucks #barista #starbucksbarista #partner #starbuckspartner #baristaproblems #shiftsuoervisor ♬ original sound – WayOfZaylene
Viewers in the comments section debated hierarchies in the workplace and spoke about their experiences with Starbucks managers who don’t help other workers.
“No manager liked me just bc I called them out on their bs and told them to come help us,” one user argued.
“Some of them be on their phone scrolling through insta while I still need my 30 min break,” another described.
“Was my store the only one that had this weird hierarchy [where] a group [of] the manager and their fave employees sat in the back and talked all day?” a third criticized.
“No we have to put a stop to this, it’s unfair they get paid more [than] us baristas while we work harder,” a fourth urged.
Some users said they were managers and shared their experience pitching in at work.
“I try to not be this shift [crying emoji] I try to help but since I close I sometimes have to do inventory,” one user commented.
“Someone once told me i was their fave supervisor bc i was actually on the floor w them,” another replied.
The viral video comes in the midst of a wider labor movement at Starbucks locations across the country. As previously reported by the Daily Dot, many TikTokers are speaking out against working conditions at Starbucks stores and are supporting a push for unionization this year. About 200 Starbucks stores have unionized so far.
In May, the National Labor Relations Board in Buffalo issued 29 unfair labor practice charges, including allegations of over 200 violations of the National Labor Relations Act. Also in May, Starbucks announced it will raise wages for employees, but it will not offer improved benefits to workers at unionized stores, saying it needs to bargain with unions prior to making benefits changes. However, labor union Workers United said Starbucks can offer unionized employees benefits without bargaining so long as it has union approval, according to CNBC.
In an interview with the Daily Dot following the publication of our article, TikToker Rocio Najera said she has worked with Starbucks since 2014 and enjoys her job and her current manager.
However, working with the company for so long, she has had less positive experiences with managers in the past, like the one described in her TikTok.
Update 12:11pm CT, Aug. 3: Najera said after reading our article, she was interested to hear more about other workers’ stories being shared on TikTok and learn about unionization efforts across the country by Starbucks workers.
“The way I was able to read it and learn a little bit more about the unions regarding Starbucks because that information is so withheld within the company that the only way I can learn more about unions or anything like that is either through social media or articles like yours,” the TikToker said. “I think more people should unionize. I mean, I’m in a more liberal state, so obviously some [more labor] laws are enacted. However, that doesn’t negate the fact that we deserve more pay. And it also doesn’t negate the fact that there’s so many other states that deserve more.”
Najera also said the reaction from viewers on TikTok has been mostly positive, and many people related to her experience—however, she said it’s also sad to hear how common negative experiences with managers are for workers.
“It’s a nice feeling knowing that other people feel the same way but it’s also bittersweet because this is a constant occurrence with other people, which sucks. But the camaraderie of all of us relating to it is nice,” the TikToker said.
The Daily Dot reached out to the Starbucks press team.
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