Starbucks Responds to Sandwichgate

Comments

1
If this guy is such a good employee then he will have no problem finding another fast-food job. Starbucks obviously doesn't regard him as a valuable employee and I don't quite get why it is objectionable to fire an at-will employee in those circumstances. It would be different if Starbucks felt that it was better off employing him than not employing him - in that case, his firing would be highly objectionable - but then, it would be bizarre for Starbucks to fire him in that case.
2
Can we also talk more about Marxist Feminism?

Ok, so all day long, the Liberals at SLOG try to build a case for "fair wages" for "sex workers".

Yet, hardcore Marxist Feminists want no such things! In fact...


Marxists are opposed to any social or political action that perpetuates the enslavement and oppression of members of the work force. Prostitution is a form of labor and therefore has been specifically noted as falling under the designation of a corruption of wage labor. Marx himself asserted that “prostitution is only a specific expression of the general prostitution of the laborer.”35 Prostitution, therefore, can be seen as standing as a symbol of all that is wrong with world policies in society. Prostitutes may feel that they are free, but looking at the larger economic picture in Marxist terms, they are in reality oppressed workers reinforcing and perpetuating an exploitative capitalistic scheme.


How can SLOG reconcile this frisson?

http://www.feministissues.com/marxist.ht…
3
@ 2, you're clearly bringing that threadjack up for one reason - Talking about sex work makes your pee pee stiff.
4
Like, let's say the strike brings the fast food companies to their knees, and they say, "Fine, fine, we'll do whatever you want! What are your demands?"

What are we supposed to demand to make sure what happened to Loptmann never happens again? "Don't fire people even if they aren't really working out as employees"? "Don't fire at-will employees at all"? "Don't fire people who swear they only missed one shift, tops, and it was like 3, maybe 4 months ago"?
5
Like, perhaps, if they were having a bit of a PR nightmare because they'd done something less than classy?


The first statement you received from Starbucks was standard corporate speak. You get that even when the other party is a massive asshole. If you want to view it with the maximum amount of paranoia, by all means, do so. The rest of us don't have to take you seriously for it.
6
PDF says it's the store at 4th and Seneca. (I'm having trouble picturing that particular one, although sometimes I'm in the area at the Central Library.)

The form is hard to read, but it looks like it describes the sandwich simply as "marked out" rather than thrown out, which is what my understanding is. So as other commenters mentioned yesterday, it was no longer Starbuck's property.
7
What Matt said.
8
@4,

Missing an entire shift seems pretty serious to me, unless there was a serious mitigating circumstance like a health or family emergency.
9
@6 there's this new thing where you're allowed to fire a bad employee even if he doesn't steal anything from you.
10
Anna, what is the Stranger paying its interns in terms of wages and benefits? It seems everybody at the Stranger ignores and evades this question. Of late the number of interns referred to on the masthead has been reduced, from as many as 13 to 3. Have these recent questions and the obvious hypocrisy changed the exploitive practices of the Stranger?

By the way, Anna, when are YOU going to call Darryl down at the Guild and help organize this scab rag?
11
@ 6, not true. It's their property until the trashmen pick it up.
12
Tim Keck is not a millionaire? The Stranger doesn't make a shit-ton of money from its print edition and the Slog. It can't afford to pay fresh undergrads minimum wage to post their weak-ass Saturday and Sunday news roundups? And yet half of your posts are regarding economic justice? Odd. Very odd. Oh, and fuck you, Tim Keck
13
@ 10/12, you are tiresome.
14
Aw that's nice how you bolded paying a living wage. Maybe once he's done school he can intern for the Stranger and go back to being on food stamps, since you guys still are using unpaid labour. Hey Anna, how about talking to your bosses about that, you know be the change you want to see and all? At least Starbuck commented on the situation, you guys haven't said a word about using unpaid labour...other then taking off the tag lines that where oh so fun, cause you know, unpaid labour is a joke and all to the stranger.
15
I think you're losing your argument sticking by Loptmann Anna. It certainly seems that he has been sufficiently discredited with missing a shift, being late a few times, getting written up for not getting along w a coworker, and another slogger posted yesterday that he didn't get along well w coworkers, customers, etc.. Yes, he could be a complete victim but there's at least enough evidence (by Slog debate standards) that I don't think he's the best poster boy we can come up with on evil corporate empires. And btw I definitely think there's a huge argument on how many huge companies completely take advantage, treat ppl like shit, pay them sub-povertly level wages, etc,-- I just think we can definitely find a better posted boy for it than Loptmann
16
@13 every argument that can be made for keeping min wage where it is can be made for using unpaid interns. Most arguments for paying fast food workers a living wage can be made for paying interns. So far the only argument I've heard on slog for using unpaid internships is "um it's an internship, duh they're unpaid, duh", tell me how that's different then "um it's fast food duh, it's suppose to be low paid duh, it's not suppose to be a career".
17
This thread is ridiculous. Fine, I'll deal with your straw man argument: no one here is suggesting that a law be passed preventing businesses from firing people for performance issues. The story merely asks us whether the actions of this company - paying their employee so little and providing such unpredictable hours that he has to live on food stamps and go hungry on shift because he can't afford the food they sell and they don't provide a shift meal - are moral. Is this a business we want to support? Do they treat their workers fairly? These are reasonable questions to ask.
18
Sound familiar:

http://theantiabortiongang.blogspot.com/…

Not the first time the Stranger backs the wrong horse.
19
@ j2patter, you're tiresome, too.

BTW, did you ever remember the name of any of those coffee shops in Ontario you claimed to work for? Just one?
20
@13 It's a worthy series of questions. Is it really that wrong to hope that the newspaper that is championing the rights I agree with to walk the talk it expects others to?

I've seen internships in Seattle offered as task-based jobs. Such as a catalog or programming intern at SIFF. Or, an intern for organizing the Bumbershoot or SIFF programs at The Stranger.

Internships should not be like that. Internships should help as much as hinder the employing business or organization. They take up the time of the paid employees in the interest of training the intern.

The way interns have become coded as free labor is disgraceful and a pure exploitation of the internship system.

...

@5 The worst part about this is that, chances are, Loptmann is not going to be able to get unemployment for being "fired with cause." And, Starbucks has these written action forms for making sure they don't get penalized for firing an employee with increased unemployment fees, and, thusly, making sure that employee doesn't get any unemployment benefits.

The way unemployment works in this country can be disgusting and demoralizing. Companies do everything in their power to prevent themselves from getting dinged when an employee "separates" from the company. And, even when the Democrats ruled both state houses, the democrats were all too happy to sell out the ESD. In 2009, when the D's had both houses, the senate and house voted to restrict the allowance of the ESD to judge who would get and wouldn't get unemployment, while also giving major discounts to all the employees in the state. The people voting in the affirmative on this bill included Ed Murray, Kohl-Welles, Jamie Pedersen, and Frank Chopp.

Note that in 2009, companies were separating from people left and right, and unemployment was quite high. When writing to the congressmen about this, the only response I received was from Jamie Pedersen, who shrugged and basically said that all the other Democrats were doing it, so why am I bitching at him?
21
I suppose my comment @ 19, which was prompted by an exchange between myself and j2patter on the big "to tip or not to tip" thread from a couple of weeks ago, gives me the opportunity to point out that tipping might have kept this guy out of the position of having to take food out of the trash
22
@ 20, I'll believe that when a current or former Stranger intern claims exploitation. Until then it's a bunch of white noise from a bunch of hypocritical trolls who don't actually give a shit about fair wages.
23
I have been a frequent customer at the 4th & Seneca store and I always found Coulson to be polite and professional. I don't think I'll be going back there.

24
@21 did you read my comments at all in that thread, I said I always tip a buck for coffee.
So whats you're argument for unpaid internships? I've laid out my argument over and over again, what's yours?

have you heard of Williams? That's one of the coffee shops, but lets not thread jack shall we, lets keep the focus on unpaid labour/living wages.
25
@22 aw, so you just don't give a fuck about unpaid labour, gotcha. I make a deal out of it cause I'm only where I am in life because of paid internships. I could have never afforded to move to new places in school to gain experiences if the internships where paid, as I've stated before in threads. It's wrong to use unpaid internships because you're limiting who can apply/afford the job, and when a whole industry uses unpaid internships you're limiting who can enter the industry. how do you think people with huge student loans end up working in fast food. Right now there's a huge amount of underemployment going on, and unpaid internships is one of many causes.
26
@ 24, what city is that in? (And your tipping wasn't germane; it was your apparent ignorance about how to make good espresso. I want to read the reviews and see what people have to say about these places where you worked.)

Also, see @22.
27
Also I'd love it for the stranger to come out and say "Hey shut the fuck up guys, we're paying our interns now"...but unlike starbucks they won't even comment on it.
28
@26 so want my whole life story now? So my comment on my tipping on a thread about tipping habits wasn't relevant? Alright...I give up on you sir
29
@22 Unpaid internships are blatantly biased towards generally white, middle-to-upper-middle class young'uns who have parents to help them out. Many internships are completely an oppression of skilled labor in some ways.

But, you and I both know that it's career suicide to bad mouth your previous employers in public. Even if was a no-pay internship. I shouldn't have to point that out to you. You have to be happy as a fucking clam about the places you work.

This Coulson kid may find it difficult, post-college, to get a job if somebody googles his name and finds this series.
30
@22 there is a wide gap between "" fair "" and OMG social justice! If you want shitty employees to make more money, feel free to tip them half your salary. Or better yet, don't patronize bad businesses that use poor compensation as part of their business model ( costco vs walmart )

This poster person is a horrible example or a great one I cant decide, They took a not very serious job, and didn't take the rules seriously. SHOCKER they got fired after breaking multiple rules. Even union members get fired for coming in late and theft.

Asking why the stranger is so worried about *fair* wages while it keeps unpaid interns is a valid critique. Since the people who can afford to take unpaid internships tend to be well to do upper middle class, and largely white. ( ouch that justice isn't very social...)
31
@ 29

I would agree with your statement but not sure if its just a white thing, usually Asians are just as well off if not better. But yes seems less so with black and latino.
32
Tipping wasn't what prompted my response; your claim of authority on coffee was. If you won't share some public info that doesn't out you at all, I can only conclude that you made up the whole thing.

So, name the city or GTFO.
33
@ 29, that may be all true. But who are these tiresome threadjackers, and why don't I believe they are anything other than people who hate The Stranger and are just spreading FUD?
34
@32, he (she?) said Williams in Ontario I think.

@33, the point is that unpaid internships don't necessarily hurt the unpaid interns, they hurt the people who would have been able to advance their careers if the internships had been paid, but who instead have to work at a job that doesn't have the same career-building opportunities. So it doesn't really mean anything if the Stranger interns aren't complaining, you need to ask the kids who couldn't afford to take the internships.

When I interned for my congressman (a good Democrat) in DC, we were paid for precisely this reason.
35
@33 Some of us agree with the message, but think that The Stranger should walk the walk, and that The Stranger is a weak link and a hypocrite because its policies are clearly in opposition to its stated goal.

Others are people who are taking down the argument because of the source. See: weak link in the fight.

In either case, bringing it up until it is addressed isnt terrible. It's like bringing up The Stranger's failure to report on the 2009 unemployment reform bill which was largely prompted by the Supeeme Court victory Spain vs ESD. By not reporting on an important piece of legislation supported by all the local D's shows that The Stranger is just whores for the Democrats, who only criticize when it's convenient.
36
I recommend to those who like to quibble on Slog, find someone at a bar or Seattle's Best Coffee this weekend. Make sure they disagree with you on a topic that is dear to you. Start qubbling with one another. Me, I'm losing interest in class warfare, LGBT politics and so on. I do however find that the buttholes of Mongolian men have a nice scent. So I'm gonna find someone who doesn't like the butthole smell of those men. Monday we'll share stories of our great weekend quibbles!
37
@17,

The food stamp issue is a straw man argument, frankly. Washington state is generous enough to extend food stamp benefits to people making one-and-a-half times poverty level. That's a good thing, and I support it, because programs like that help keep lower middle class people from falling into poverty, but Loptmann was not impoverished by federal standards.

I've lived on $10/hour in this city, with as few hours as Loptmann had. It's an insufficient wage, but it's not a starvation wage for a single person with no children. And Starbucks gives a 30 percent discount to its "partners", which is the most generous employee discount I've ever seen.
38
@ 34, is Williams a town in Ontario then? I didn't think it sounded like the name of a shop. Unless there's only one shop in town (and these days, most podunks have more than one independent coffee shop), then j2patter is still being evasive.

Anyway, you and Misanthrope bring up good points. The original threadjackers did not, and have been conspicuously absent. Take that for what you will.
39
And, dear HuffPo. Anonymous commenters on Reddit are not a good course for quotes in your news article. Especially not 2 out of 10 paragraphs worth.
40
@37 It's getting to be now. How long ago did you live on $10/hr?
41
@33, I'm sorry, I'm not going to post my whole life story here. But if you want to discuss unpaid internships I'd be more the happy to. Me and others on the post have post a bunch of reason why unpaid internships are bad, and why The Stranger should address their use of unpaid internships. @35 is right, if The Stranger really cared about living wages I'd assume they'd do what they could to pay a living wage. And yes this is my pet peeve about The Stranger, and I do plan on brining it up every time they bring up unpaid wages, because once again, this is something they can change.

Oh and as @35 stated, smart people usually do not bash the places they work at when they work there. But why do you think more and more unpaid interns are starting to sue, because they're happy?

So keep calling me a Stranger hater troll. I'm not, I'm just someone who hate unpaid internships. But please bring more to the conversation then just calling me a Stranger hater troll, if you truly believe that unpaid internships are a good thing, please bring some facts (BTW I believe if you were to ask any stranger staff 1 on 1 if they agree with unpaid internships they'd say no).
42
Apparently at Anna Shitards school of journalism she learned to write her outrage first and them do reporting when she has more time.
43
@38 dude what's your problem. You accuse me of being a threadjacker, and yet want to do nothing except jack the thread to talk about coffee. Also I made the same points as @34 and TheMisanthrope. Alright I get it, you don't like me for one comment I made on a coffee thread, gotcha.
44
Years ago, when I managed a staff of AFSCME custodians and cooks at the Univerity of Iowa, I had a custodian I had to fire because he ate out of the garbage. Granted, it was a little different - he was eating leftover stuff that was coming back on people's cafeteria trays and dumped into a large garbage bin, and he also insisted on spraying bug spray into his rubber gloves before putting them on at the beginning of his shift.

What I was really trying to do was to get the union to contest it so that we would have to take him back, but we could set a condition that he got mental help, but they threw him under the bus and wouldn't challenge it.

45
@39 - agreed, but then again that's huffpo, the site that has nip slips next to feminist articles...
46
If this was a friend of mine I'd say bummer, hope you get a better job.
47
sorry, as a business owner, I'd also fire an employee if within their first year they missed an entire shift and were late multiple times. Catch an earlier bus or work closer to home so you don't have to rely on transit. Or maybe get a bike!

Sure, the mark out issue was just an excuse to get rid of an employee that didn't take his job serious. But don't have other skeletons in the closet and you'll be fine.
48
Jesus Christ, there's an insane amount of gleeful corporate ass-kissing on this thread.

As @17 alluded to, the real issue is why we live in a society where workers have to eat food that's thrown away ("marked-up") to survive. Plenty of commenters in the first post offered their testimonials about having to survive on what's basically the leftovers of their respective shops - instead of being able to buy food they need.

It's pretty fucking depressing that on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom we're still divided on whether it's right that minimum-wage employees have to eat out of the trash to live.
49
@48

YOU GUYS HE WOULDN'T HAVE SURVIVED WITHOUT STEALING THE GARBAGE FOOD

15hr for everyone.

/end thread
50
Why should we believe anything this lying asshole says? Ok, show us your entire budget, what you spend on rent, food, iPhone, clubbing. Money from parents. I want to see bank statements, credit cards bills the whole lot.

Starving my ass. Saving a few bucks on food so you have more in the bars more like it.
51
Until the workers share fully in the ownership of the fruits of their labor, they will remain beggars and servants under their masters' rule.

Employers hire you not as an act of kindness or charity to you, but as one for themselves.

Your salary is actually paid out of the total you earned for them. You work and earn $100k for me, I pay you $20k. You create a recurring revenue stream of $100k for me; I use the right to work state privilege of firing you to keep all of the recurring revenue stream for me, for the investors/banks who get their cut for financing the operation, and the lawmakers who take their share for helping make it all legal or plausibly legal.

You will not be free until you are equal.

Own your work.
52
@51 so how did communism work out?
53
@ 17 Not too long ago, I was able to live on what I made working as a barista in Seattle (without food stamps), and I did not have to eat things out of the trash. Has anyone asked why this guy didn't elect to pack himself a sandwich to eat while at his seven hour shift? That seems like it would have been a better choice than not bringing food to a full shift. Does anyone else get a free lunch every day? Did I miss this employer requirement?

There is at least some amount of responsibility necessary in this situation. Eating a sandwich out of the garbage is a questionable choice, but I am confused by the entitlement here. I'm guessing everyone else in the store brings home a similar amount. Why was there not a full-scale garbage sandwich gluttony? Where are the rest of the starving baristas who are crippled by the evil cheapskates who write their paychecks? Why does this one dude's poor decision-making allow for a call for a massive overhaul of wages?
54
Sugartit, your jugs are sour.

Practice holding more than two concepts in your little sack, and you may be able to handle a new concept or a little complexity.

Communism, like capitalism never made it fully off the written page. Governments just rebranded and deployed new technology to achieve the same outcome through different means.

No one knows what a vibrant democracy of self-determined owners looks like because no society has yet fully evolved to realize it.

So, go be a good slave of plantation economics and kiss your master's ass.

...what a boob.
55
Bitch, please. No one's saying this is fucking Sudan. But here in 'Murica (GRATEST COUNTRY EVAR) we have people who need to eat the crap their store is going to throw away (instead of people like me, who can pick and choose what he wants to eat at the grocery). That's not a sign of a fucking 'superpower'.

And hell yeah, $15/hr minimum wage? I'd get behind that.
56
@53: How long ago did you work as barista? How many hours per week? What was your base pay?
57
Where are the rest of the starving baristas who are crippled by the evil cheapskates who write their paychecks?

Too scared to break rules of gigantic waste for fear if losing their job.

See my post @20 regarding how unemployment is increasingly stacked against the employees.
58
I picked up shifts at other stores when mine dropped down to stay around 38 hours a week. I rode a bike to work when the bus kept getting me there late. I had a second job. It sucked. I ate a lot of peanut butter and jelly. And after a few years at it, I got a better job in an office. You know what I didn't do? Blame my employer for me not planning to eat while at work.

I'm not disputing that the minimum wage should be higher. I completely agree. But it's our evil corporate overlord's fault that I'm hungry? I'm not buying it.
59
@58: How long ago?
60
What I'm missing is whether this guy actually was starving, or whether that was an excuse for doing a really stupid thing, given he'd been "counseled" before. In 40+ years of working I heard all kinds of excuses for being fired. Starbucks is horrible, yes. But that kind of job demands you BE there. Not late, not absent, but THERE, and preferably not doing stuff you know isn't kosher. Those are relevant reasons to fire someone, and it doesn't matter one whit what his nutritional level was. Starbucks isn't responsible for him being hungry, if he was; the whole of American society is. Elect better people.

As far as Stranger not paying interns, as some poster above said, let the interns complain. If all potential interns boycotted the Stranger (even trust-fund babies), they'd pay.
61
@59 - I barista'd my last about 6 years ago.
62
Play us out, Twerking Miley.

...alas, she's no Keyboard Cat.
63
@61: That's roughly when the recession started, no? Perhaps your barista experience may have been a bit different from young Mr. Loptmann here? I don't presume to know his exact situation, but I do know that the minimum wage has not kept pace with inflation and that to compare YOUR experience SIX years ago to his in 2013 is problematic at best.
64
@61 Look at what happened to rent in just the past two years. According to the Seattle Times, rent has shot up in Seattle and in surrounding communities, and new units are not helping.

In March, Seattle PI posted a 10% increase in rents from 2012 to 2013 alone.

From 2007 to 2008, rents also increased 10%, according to the Seattle Gov reportadopted in 2009.

Average rent has been skyrocketing in Seattle and the surrounding areas over the past six years. Open your fucking eyes.

Yeah, in 2007 you were able to live from minimum wage. In 2013, even apt sharing is becoming expensive as hell. Also, part of the thing keeping average rent prices from reflecting real increases? aPODments. Increasing the number of closet sized units whose rent is included in "average rents" when they're basically boarding houses is distorting numbers to look less terrible than they currently seem.
65
@61/58 Remember how tight things were for you in 2007? Imagine paying 25% (lowest estimates) more in rent than you were. Add in the increases in everyday products like groceries.

Now tell me that if you could have survived on the same pay, even with 2 jobs.
66
@10 - considering interns have the tagline "Unpaid Intern" - it shouldnt be that fucking hard to figure out what they get paid.
67
@ 65/63 - I completely support increasing the minimum wage, and I do think pay scales are misaligned. I think some form of regulation and reform is necessary, because it is hell to make ends meet. It was easier in 2007 before a partner and kids multiplied things exponentially. Don't even get me started on the ridiculous lack of paid parent leave or astronomical prices of daycare because one income is simply not an option. And god forbid someone needs to go to the ER. I still rent, because rental rates are more reasonable and less of a risk than a mortgage, so I'm intimately familiar with the current cost of living. Yes. You're right. It's higher now. And yes, if I take what my average check was in 2007 (including second job supplementation), I could survive on the same pay as a single person with a roommate. It would take work and budgeting, no beer and no iPhone. And I'd probably be looking for a better job, like I did in 2007-2008 during the recession, to be able to have a bit more breathing room.
My point here is that despite the challenge of making ends meet, there is an element of responsibility involved. Mr Loptmann is a grown-ass adult who holds his employer responsible for his lack of funds and food. Mr Loptmann's decision-making skills seem questionable. I really don't think the high cost of living is responsible for the chain of events leading to his current state of employment. This is not your poster boy for raising the minimum wage. Find someone busting ass at a fast food restaurant, doing everything right and still not making things meet. That's your face of the movement.
68
@j2patter, just asking you to put up or shut up about your claim. Is coffee your whole life?
69
Simple fact of the matter is, unpaid interns are by law not allowed to give a company a competitive edge, or help the company financially. An unpaid intern is actually supposed to impede the company's operations at times.

Basically no unpaid internships follow this law. Therefore they are illegal and immoral, simply unpaid labor. Unless all the stories that used to be posted under the "unpaid intern" byline generated zero clicks/page views and zero ad revenue, the Stranger is clearly in violation of these laws.

It is not an invalid critique or a threadjack on a post regarding fair wages to ask why the Stranger refuses to pay fair wages, and continues with an internship program which is likely illegal. I just want the Stranger to address this hypocrisy, and until they do, all reporting on fair wage/labor practices is suspect. A regular slogger simply asks for the Stranger's position on this issue.

http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/w…
70
Feel it in your heart and feel it in your soul
Let the Slog take control

All night long,
All night
All night long,
All night
71
It sounds like Loptmann was just a crappy employee, and this incident was the straw that broke the camel's back. Slog needs to do a better job of getting it's facts straight before publishing stories. Remember Jennifer Fox, who Slog tried to turn into a noble martyr poster child of the of the occupy movement, breathlessly reporting, "PREGNANT WOMAN MISCARRIES AFTER BEING PEPPER SPRAYED!" Then it turned out she was a psychologically disturbed, pathological liar who was never pregnant.

Before you pick your living wage poster child, perhaps you should find someone who follows company policies, shows up to work, preferably on time, and gets along with his or her coworkers.
72
@71, Rob in Baltimore! OMG!! I haven't seen you on Slog in ages!!! And don't worry...it's gotten worse since the days of Original Monique and the old gang. :(
73
@ 69, given that there was another thread closer to this topic (MLK and minimum wage), I'd say this belonged on that thread. Inasmuch as it belongs anywhere on Slog. Do you know for sure that The Stranger's interns are exploited in this fashion? Are you a labor attorney, or is your opinion of the legality simply that of a layperson?
74
I didn't read all the comments here (I quit once I saw how ugly it was getting) but I'd just like to add the following.

Starbucks didn't need to wait for an excuse to fire this guy, if he had all of these existing performance issues. Why didn't they let him go previously? Why wait until he was hungry enough to eat a sandwich out of the garbage and then fire him for stealing it? Oh right, because that's just how the restaurant industry works.
Step one: Cut employee's hours and wait for him to quit
Step two (failing step one): Find an excuse, any excuse, to fire the employee with cause to prevent unemployment payments.

Oh, one more thing: @1, employers typically Google potential employee names these days. Do you really think it will be that easy for him to get a job anywhere after this?
75
@73: As I clearly stated and the link confirmed, unless the stories and work done by the unpaid interns resulted in zero net gain to the paper through clicks, page views, and brought in no ad revenue, the intern program is breaking labor laws. Considering how Ansel Herz's posts where some of the most commented on in his brief tenure, I find it hard to believe this was the case. They obviously brought a good deal of clicks and views, which in turn generate ad revenue.

This is not debatable, it is simple labor law, and it is very clear. Please read over the DOL link I provided. Court cases have also challenged the validity of unpaid internships for this very reason. Keep up with the news.

As I also made clear, I simply want the Stranger to comment on it, because we do not know about how or if the program was exploitative. But the refusal of the Stranger to acknowledge it's interns anymore, and the abrupt dropping of the "unpaid intern" byline is quite suspect. I feel it is a conflict of interest as long as the Stranger is profiting from unpaid labor, if indeed they are.

Lastly, I find it very funny that when you suddenly become the comment topic police when topics/facts come up you do not want discussed. Meanwhile, you keep demanding to know what town and coffee shop one guy worked in, and you are constantly demanding people go from thread A to comment on something unrelated you said in thread B. How is that on topic?
76

The concern I have with raising rates for minimum wage workers living in expensive cities like Seattle and New York is that any increase will immediately get eaten up by rent increases from landlords.

So what you are proposing is not increasing the buying power of workers but a way to siphon money to your core democrat base of wealthy landowners.
77
74, Maybe the hours were rewarded to employees who reliability showed up to work, consistently arrived on time, and got along with their coworkers?

Who's to blame for putting Loptmann's name into a Google searchable story on the web?
78
@ 75, I asked him a question and it turned into a back-and-forth. That happens sometimes. Sorry, but it wasn't like we could just take it back to the old thread.

Also, observing that something is off topic doesn't make me the comment police; demanding it end would, and I'm not doing that. Besides, who is it that said it isn't a Slog thread if it goes off topic? This guy.

Also, there is a difference between a back-and-forth like mine and a deliberate attempt by @10 & @ 12 (where are they, BTW) to change a thread's entire focus.

Lastly, saying that your opinion is a lay one would have been much briefer. I'm not calling it uninformed, but it's still not that of a person with no practical legal experience.
79
Dammit. Strike either the word "not" or the word "no" from my last sentence.
80
Jesus, Mary and Joseph...

Matt from Denver needs a Slog intervention; he's obviously free basing caffeine. The man never sleeps.
81
@ 80, nah. Notice the big gap in time between 38 and 68? I got a good night's sleep.
82
Despite a lot of one-upmanship, there are some great comments here.
83
You guys waste time on the weirdest witch hunts.
84
@67 You really shouldn't be so cavalier with your words.

But it's our evil corporate overlord's fault that I'm hungry? I'm not buying it.

Any corporation who fights the increase in minimum wages is contributing to the difficulty of people to earn a living wage. Starbucks is fighting it. McDonalds is fighting it. Everybody is fighting it to keep profits at the top instead of actually paying their employees a modest living.

While you might think its arguable that Loptmann is or is not a poster boy for the movement, the movement itself is not suspect. Your words above, despite your claiming to believe in a higher minimum wage, seem to believe that companies are not responsible for keeping wages down.

Also, a low minimum wage is keeping other salaries down as well. If and when the minimum wage increases to $15/hr, do you think that Boeing factory workers are going to be happy at $15/hr? Chances are, they're going to demand increases. And so on up the chain.
85
@81 dude I've already shut up about the coffee, I'm willing to admit maybe in Seattle people are coffee geniuses who know about the wind and rain and how that affects the beans (Also please name some of these cause I'd to try some coffee made by these coffee geniuses). But unpaid internships are on topic for this thread. The Stranger made a big joke about using unpaid labour (they had a tag line and all their ads for internships stated it was unpaid). Now they dropped the tag line. Readers want to know if they also started paying their interns. And yes I'm sorry this is on topic for a living wage article. I'm not posting this under movie reviews, just articles demanding a living wage.

Google unpaid internships.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/03/busine…

"Many regulators say that violations are widespread, but that it is unusually hard to mount a major enforcement effort because interns are often afraid to file complaints. Many fear they will become known as troublemakers in their chosen field, endangering their chances with a potential future employer. "

"While many colleges are accepting more moderate- and low-income students to increase economic mobility, many students and administrators complain that the growth in unpaid internships undercuts that effort by favoring well-to-do and well-connected students, speeding their climb up the career ladder.

Many less affluent students say they cannot afford to spend their summers at unpaid internships, and in any case, they often do not have an uncle or family golf buddy who can connect them to a prestigious internship.
"
86
@77, maybe they were but I think you missed my point. Give that another read. With regards to the google search history, I'm not certain who is to blame for putting this story on the internet with Loptmann's name but I was simply responding to @1 regarding how easy it would or wouldn't be for him to find another job now so, again, you seem to have strayed off point.
87
@85, okay, maybe one of the Stranger's recent interns was the Seattle City Attorney's son on summer break from Harvard, but that's just...coincidence. Correlation not causation, exception proves the rule, etc etc.
88
@ 85, I no longer find your concern over internships tiresome. And to anyone who did not post @ 10 or @ 12, I never said any of you were, either.

That said, I've already concluded what your reticence on the other matter means, and I'm through with it.
89
@63,

In Washington state, the minimum wage is pegged to inflation. It goes up every year, and it's worth noting that Loptmann made more than minimum.
90
@89 It's worth noting that, in Seattle, Cost of Living has outstripped Inflation by a significant amount of late.
91
"@89 It's worth noting that, in Seattle"

So move to Seatac or Tukwilla, get a room mate and take the train in.
92
@85,
Interestingly, it's not just that they don't use the term anymore, they've in at least one case scrubbed it retroactively as well. Goldy's Slog post titled "Did You Steal Our Inpaid Intern's Camera?" was changed to "Did You Steal Ansel's Camera?" If you can manage to find a link to the old version, it no longer works.
93
#79 you are so annoying, please fuck off.
94
@90,

Then Loptmann needs to move out of the city. I don't like it. I think it's bullshit that there's such a lack of affordable housing. I've railed about it here in the past. But the point still stands that there's no objective reason why Loptmann was "starving" other than his own bad planning.
95
@90,

I should add too, that I support increasing the minimum wage for a whole host of different reasons, but people making a living wage are still known for "stealing" (taking stuff they think no one will notice missing) from their employers. And people will still show up for a seven-hour shift without having packed a lunch. With a higher minimum wage, Loptmann and other fast food workers would be better off, but it wouldn't have necessarily prevented him from doing something dumb that got him fired. In short, as other people have said, The Stranger would do well finding another near-minimum wage worker to rally behind.
96
A story by Anna Minard,

Had Starbucks hoisted by its own petard.


"nuff said. . .

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-08-29…

97
Internships: I thought if you got school credit or did substantive stuff where you were "learning" (i.e., 20-year-olds writing terrible posts that are shitty content fillers with that wouldn't be worth anything or read were it not published by The Stranger) it didn't have to be paid.

Also, I was homeless my first month as a lawyer because I couldn't afford being alive + rent + student debt until I got paid a couple times. Were it not for the friends who let me couch surf, I'd have starved and defaulted on my loans. As a lawyer. So fuck your ignorant assumptions about who makes whom starve. A lot of people are struggling, and eating out of the "trash" is way better than actual theft. I can guarantee you that everyone in my fancy, well-paid office has been late and missed days unscheduled. Just because my staff does office work shouldn't mean that coffee makers don't deserve some leeway, too.
98
If you think that unpaid internships aren't a scourge, look at these two Craigslist posts from the Seattle Symphony posted today.

Graphic Design Intern

Marketing Intern

Essentially these are hired part time jobs that they pose as "internships" with "learning objectives." It's bullshit.
99
@33 It's not threadjacking to want to talk about wage issues in a thread about wage issues. It is in fact entirely appropriate and on topic. It's even more appropriate to ask the Strangers Staff their opinions on the matter while they so freely are offering their opinions on how other businesses treat their labor.

Why does the Stranger get a buy on this when nobody else does? Why is The Stranger some special exception to privilege and entitlement checking? Why does everybody else have to make a sacrifice to the greater good but not The Stranger?

I don't know what the inner-motive of the other posters here are. It doesn't matter. This is an important issue.

The Stranger has shot themselves in the foot on any discussion of labor fairness when they themselves utilize unpaid labor unapologetically. Even to the point of a rather Orwellian vanishing act of the "Unpaid Intern" by-lines. Which clearly they found embarrassing.

Look. There is literally no reason for a for-profit business to not pay their interns (not unless it is mandatory for a specific degree and there is college credit offered). None. Just as there no reason why the minimum wage cannot be raised.

If this is thread hijacking then every thread on wage fairness needs to be hijacked until The Stranger resolves this very simple issue.
100
Just a point of clarification for those of you who are interested: The Stranger no longer has an internship program. Earlier this year, we switched to an apprenticeship program. These are paid positions, they last six months, and there are three apprenticeships at the paper: an apprenticeship in the news department, one working with the arts editors, and one specifically dedicated to the music section. When a paid apprenticeship slot opens, we'll post it right here on Slog.