Natural disaster shows corporations true colors

Starbucks on Tennessee Street Photo Credit: Campus Her Twitter Profile

The recent series of tornadoes weren’t the only thing that was throwing student workers for a loop. Big corporations such as Starbucks and smaller businesses such Burrito Boarder have put Tallahassee student-workers in multiple predicaments through job loss or lack of post-disaster support.

Starbucks, a corporation that has faced a lot of scrutiny within the past year for their alleged support of Israel within a Pro-Palestinian community, has been fighting back the loss of income with BOGOs, ads and now forcing students to work while they have no power and in some cases no transportation. 

According to Anaezia Williams, a barista and communications student at Florida A&M University, the treatment that they are experiencing feels like they are “ begging to be paid”. This is following a weekend of last-minute communication, baristas being relocated to different stores, and having baristas go to work while they have no power in  their own homes.

Unfortunately, the treatment does not stop there. When it came to the question of what compensation baristas would receive if they couldn’t make their shifts due to weather-related situations, it was told to baristas other locations are open to work at. Comparing the amount of baristas that work at Starbucks to the amount of stores open at the time,  there was a ratio that wouldn’t allow all baristas to work.

Currently, there are 169 known baristas that work for Starbucks, and there were only four stores open for the duration that the city was out of power. That’s asking 42 baristas to work at one store and have 14 baristas work per shift (morning, mid and closing). A standard Starbucks can only hold a maximum of 8 baristas per shift. This would force baristas to either lose money, or fight for shifts so they could make enough money to pay their bills. The most recent update of this situation from a shift supervisor who wishes to remain anonymous, is that there is still debate on if baristas will receive disaster pay for the storm or not.

Another corporation that’s being looked under the microscope, is Burrito Boarder. This local business opened in 2012 and has been known for hiring college students. Many students now have to find new jobs due to the Burrito Boarder closing its doors.

 Many FSU and FAMU students that work there will now have to find a new job in a job market that is almost never hiring, so that they can save on labor cost. 

Jewelle Simon, a recent graduate from FAMU shared her thoughts on this issue.

 “Jumping into the job market this early post-grad is very nerve-racking, especially without a job offer immediately after receiving my degree,” Simon said. 

 Burrito Boarder is unfortunately throwing many student workers into a barren job market unintentionally due to the company not making enough money.

Overall, this past weekend has brought out the worst in these two companies. Whether it was intentional like Starbucks or unintentional like Burrito Boarder, it begs the question of how Tallahassee businesses support college students and if they don’t why, won’t they to begin with.