Person talking(l+r), Starbucks Coffee sign(c)

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‘Still no credit card tipping’: Starbucks barista claims corporate is withholding these benefits from workers

‘This was obviously an attempt to punish Union partners’


Grace Rampaul


Posted on Mar 24, 2024   Updated on Mar 24, 2024, 2:49 pm CDT

According to Starbucks Workers United, the organization has unionized 400 stores and over 10,000 members since banning together in 2021. 

The operation claims to be formed by a group of baristas working together to improve their working conditions, giving them the power to negotiate with their employers as “equals.” Last week, they settled with corporate to finally receive their share of credit card tips.

Yet TikToker and activist Meghin (@unionbarista25) has recently come out saying that Starbucks refuses to actually give unionized workers these benefits.

Receiving 31,200 views and 2,921 likes as of Sunday, Meghin in a viral video sits on their couch and responds to their viewers questioning what wasn’t delivered by corporate.

“Hey why can’t union Starbucks shops receive tips? Curious customer here,” the question asks. 

“Union stores can’t receive credit card tipping because Starbucks has been illegally withholding that benefit for almost two years now,” Meghin responds.

Their comment was made in reference to the recent letter sent to Workers United, in which Starbucks asks to team up with the organization to address concerns. But, after Workers United submitted a series of different requests, it seems as though Starbucks has only given benefits to non-union cafés thus far.

As a founding member of Starbucks Workers United, Meghin claims they were one of the partners who assisted in the overall construction of the union contract back in 2022. 

“One of the first things that we were like ‘We need to put in there’ is credit card tipping,” Meghin says. 

Starbucks began allowing credit card tips in September 2022.

In an email, Starbucks tells the Daily Dot that it recently agreed to give unionized workers access to credit card tips. Yet in an exclusive interview, Megin tells the Daily Dot they have yet to see it.

“So far from what I know there is still no credit card tipping in union stores that haven’t had credit card tipping but I haven’t heard from Starbucks or anybody about it,” Meghin said.

Alongside this request, the union also emphasized the importance of both a more relaxed dress code and inclusive apron sizes to the global coffeehouse corporation.

“They [Starbucks] put in the new benefits and didn’t give them to union partners,” Meghin claims. 

Allegedly, Starbucks has come out with a series of new benefits for its non-union employees which mimic the exact requests the union had made prior.

“This was obviously an attempt to punish union partners and keep new stores from organizing, but guess what, that [expletive] didn’t work,” Meghin said. 

Starbucks claims that its employees—whom it refer to as “partners”—are at the center point of the café experience. Nonetheless, Meghin stands firm in their commitment to bringing light to cracks in the Starbucks system. 

“You may have heard of this new agreement between Starbucks and the Union, they’re gonna be getting together soon to discuss a foundational framework that is designed to achieve collective bargaining,” Meghin says.

“We know it’s gonna take a little bit of time before credit card tipping is in all the union stores, but Starbucks just know, we’re watching you and we’re waiting,” Meghin concludes their video. 

@unionbarista25 Replying to @Austin #starbucks #starbucksdrinks #tipping #starbucksbarista ♬ original sound – unionbarista25

TikTok followers of Meghin stand in solidarity, with some even diving farther into the agreement that was made between Starbucks and its union. 

“Roastery partner here. This agreement also includes back pay for all current partners for due raises and tips average tips people should have received,” one commenter said, receiving 157 likes.

Meghin confirmed the accuracy of this statement and even told the Daily Dot about their personal experience with the agreement.

“I was somebody that was getting paid $13 and my raise was supposed to go up to $15 and we had to wait a month after all the other stores, all the non-union stores go their raise before we got ours,” Meghin said.

And while many commenters were unaware such situation was even going on behind the closed doors of their favorite coffee chain, many were aware, trying to take steps of their own to assure the fair-treatment of all employees. 

“Before October I used to drive 30 minutes to go to the union store closest. I’m rooting for you guys!!!! I worked for Starbucks for 2 years,” another commenter said.

“Many customers have decided to boycott Starbucks because they sued the union for posting a pro Palestine tweet and because of those customers boycotting,” Meghin said.

Luckily for the Union, such press ended up working in its favor. Allegedly the movement encouraged Starbucks to agree with future union requests and actually follow through with them.

In an email with the Daily Dot, Starbucks emphasized a commitment to establishing a positive relationship with its partners and employees.

During mediation discussions last week for the ongoing brand and IP litigation, it became clear that there was a constructive path forward on the broader issue of the future of organizing and collective bargaining at Starbucks.

Starbucks and Workers United have agreed to begin discussions on a foundational framework designed to achieve both collective bargaining agreements for represented stores and partners, and the resolution of litigation between the union and the company. This includes resolving litigation related to both the partner benefits announced in May 2022, and the use of the Starbucks brand.

As a sign of good faith, Starbucks has agreed to provide partners represented by Workers United with the May 2022 benefits, including credit card tipping.” 

Continuing to gain traction, Meghin and the union stay hopeful in what is to come from Starbucks and their promises. At the end of the day, both organizations claim their biggest priority is the safety and well-being of their employees, or “partners,” and will continue striving toward such. 

“While there is important work ahead, coming together to work on this framework represents an important step forward and is a clear demonstration of a shared commitment to working collaboratively on behalf of partners,” Starbucks concludes.

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*First Published: Mar 24, 2024, 5:00 pm CDT