Airport Starbucks workers face big racial pay disparity, this week in the war on workers

Starbucks bills itself as a good employer—and sometimes it lives up to that. But not all Starbucks locations are operated by Starbucks, and UNITE HERE has released a damning report on pervasive discrimination and harassment at 142 Starbucks locations operated by HMSHost in 27 airports. Median pay for black baristas is $1.85 less than for white baristas at these locations, and claims that it’s about tenure on the job don’t hold up. In Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport, for instance, “There were three Black baristas with more seniority than one of the white baristas who made $2.50 an hour less than that white barista. Another white barista who had only 4 months more seniority than one of the Black baristas made $3.17 an hour more.”

In contrast to Starbucks’ image as an LGBTQ-friendly company, workers at the HMSHost Starbucks report widespread harassment, misgendering, and transphobia. LGBTQ workers aren’t the only ones facing harassment: “More than 1 in 4 immigrant workers surveyed at HMSHost Starbucks have been told to stop speaking their preferred language by managers at work.” Starbucks is failing these workers.

This article was originally published at Daily Kos on February 29, 2020. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Laura Clawson is a Daily Kos contributor at Daily Kos editor since December 2006. Full-time staff since 2011, currently assistant managing editor.

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Madeline Messa

Madeline Messa is a 3L at Syracuse University College of Law. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. With her legal research and writing for Workplace Fairness, she strives to equip people with the information they need to be their own best advocate.