Saturday, January 24, 2009

More sweeping layoffs at Starbucks?

As many as a third of the Starbucks employees who survived earlier job cuts could be pink-slipped within the next few weeks, according to a story in Friday's edition of the Seattle Times.

The report, based on a financial analyst's comments, has not been confirmed or denied by the coffee company. But it stoked a lively conversation on, a website used by employees to compare notes (and often scouted by keyboard jockeys for news yet to be released by the home office). A number of posts express relief that in-store employees will be spared in this cutback (after having their ranks thinned by the elimination of 2,000 jobs and the closure of more than 600 stores last year). But many lament an asserted fall-off in service in the shops, attributing it to earlier cuts, a too-rapid staffing-up at some units around the holiday, and a spike in traffic that aggravated the situation.

The news follows the disclosure last week that Howard Schultz was not paying himself and fellow top executives a bonus for a second straight year, and had rolled back his salary by 8.5%. That dropped his compensation for the nightmarish year to a mere $9.7 million. Cue the violins.

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