Aug 25 2014
The global coffeehouse chain Starbucks recently announced it would reconsider its work scheduling policies for the 130,000 baristas. A company spokesperson said Starbucks wanted to address concerns over “stability and consistency,” for its workers. The announcement came ostensibly in response to a major profile of a Starbucks barista and mother Jeannette Navarro in the New York Times.
The Times’ Jodi Kantor drew an intimate portrait of how Navarro struggles to balance unpredictable work hours with her duties as a mother to her 4 year old son. Kantor writes that “Navarro is at the center of a new collision that pits sophisticated workplace technology against some fundamental requirements of parenting, with particularly harsh consequences for poor single mothers.”
In a nutshell, most corporations that rely on shift work these days use sophisticated software to determine the hours of its employees, maximizing staff at peak hours, and minimizing them during lulls. The software is so sensitive, it accounts for weather and holidays. What that does of course, in the words of Kantor, is to “inject[t] turbulence into parents’ routines and personal relationships, undermining efforts to expand preschool access, driving some mothers out of the work force and redistributing some of the uncertainty of doing business from corporations to families.”
GUEST: Jodi Kantor, Washington correspondent for the New York Times and author of the book, The Obamas. Her lengthy article in the New York Times is entitled “Working Anything But 9 to 5.”