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Black Employees Make Less Than White Employees at Airport Starbucks, Pay Study Finds

Plus, third time’s the charm for Chipotle queso, and more news to start your day

“Enter Here” sign with Starbucks logo on it, in front of a Starbucks cafe.
A Starbucks cafe in Chicago’s O’Hare airport.
Photo: Sorbis/Shutterstock

Union report finds black baristas in airport Starbucks earn a median wage that’s $1.85 lower than for white baristas

Black baristas earn a median wage of $11.15 an hour at airport Starbucks, while Latinx baristas earn $12.67, and white baristas earn $13, according to a pay study conducted across 142 stores in 27 airports by hospitality workers’ union Unite Here, the Boston Globe reports.

This assertion of a pay gap, based on data collected between February and October 2019, has been published in a new report by Unite Here alongside other findings about working conditions in airport Starbucks. According to the report, those stores did not close for the day of racial bias training that affected 8,000 company-owned stores across the U.S. The report also alleges that LGBTQ workers have been misgendered, and that some immigrant workers have been told by managers to stop speaking their preferred language at work.

Starbucks touts progressive employment policies like trans health benefits and 100 percent pay equity across all genders and races in its stores, but airport Starbucks are operated separately, typically by highway and airport food-service company HMSHost, which had an exclusive partnership with Starbucks until earlier this year.

HMSHost has called the racial pay disparities allegation “completely untrue” and part of a union effort to “[exert] pressure and [gain] leverage.” In the Unite Here report, HMSHost attributed pay disparities within airport stores in part to to the average length of tenure of different racial groups. But, as Unite Here notes, the food-service company doesn’t explain why some racial groups last longer in their HMSHost jobs than others.

Starbucks, on its part, has declined or not responded to requests for comment from multiple news outlets.

And in other news…

  • Brazilian beef — previously banned in the U.S. because of “recurring” doubts about its safety — will soon be exported to the States again. [Modern Farmer]
  • Chipotle reworked its queso recipe (again), replacing the old one with a queso blanco made with Monterey Jack and white cheddar cheese. [CNBC]
  • Dunkin’s newest menu item is literally just a bag of bacon. [CNN]
  • Panera is rolling out an unlimited coffee subscription for $8.99 a month. [CNBC]
  • Grubhub has launched a membership program, promising free delivery and 10% cash back from select restaurants, among other benefits, for $9.99 a month. [Restaurant Dive]
  • Pete Buttigieg will not quit with the ranch and salsa bit! [Grub Street]
  • Fresh off her split with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Sandra Lee is moving to California and buying up property. [NY Post]
  • Area Canadian man gets a lot more cream cheese on his McDonald’s bagel than he expected, enjoys brief brush with virality. [Yahoo Lifestyle]

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