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Originally published February 11, 2009 at 10:52 AM | Page modified February 12, 2009 at 8:53 AM


Starbucks pink slips going out today to HQ workers, assistant store managers

Starbucks said International workers will be laid off as well as part of previously announced plans to further cut costs by getting rid of 6,700 jobs and closing 300 stores worldwide. Last year, it began closing 616 U.S. stores and eliminated more than 2,000 jobs.

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Starbucks slashed another 500 office jobs today and told 870 assistant store managers that their positions are being eliminated. About 300 of the office jobs are at the company's Seattle headquarters.

It will not fill 530 vacant assistant store manager positions, reducing the total number from 4,000 to about 2,600.

"International workers will be laid off as well, Starbucks said, as part of previously announced plans to further cut costs by getting rid of 6,700 jobs and closing 300 stores worldwide. Last year, it began closing 616 U.S. stores and eliminated more than 2,000 jobs.

It also has trimmed hours for employees who work in stores and is not guaranteeing a 401(k) match for employees this year.

"We fully recognize the personal and professional impacts these actions have on our partners," Starbucks said in a statement.

Some workers are being offered other positions; laid-off employees will receive separation pay, benefits and outplacement assistance.

Last week, Starbucks laid off about 100 human resources and security workers, including about 40 at its Seattle headquarters. Last summer, when Starbucks cut 180 positions in Seattle, its headquarters office employed about 3,500 people.

Here is the full memo from Chet Kuchinad, head of human resources:

Dear Partners,

As we communicated on January 28, Starbucks is reshaping our operating model and organization structure to support the long-term health of our business. This includes both organizational changes and the difficult decision to reduce our global workforce. These changes are necessary as we navigate through this challenging economy, and they are critical to ensuring we have a sustainable and successful business going forward.

Based upon the company's current and anticipated future needs, certain non-store and store positions have been eliminated or restructured globally. In some cases, certain roles or functions are being eliminated, and those partners will be separated. In other cases, there will be a reduction in the number of similar positions. The first part of this process took place last week with notifications in Partner Resources and Partner & Asset Protection.

Today, approximately 500 U.S. and Canada non-store partners are being notified that their positions have been eliminated. Of these, approximately 300 are at the Starbucks Support Center (SSC) in Seattle. Similar notification and consultation processes are currently taking place in company-owned international markets in accordance with local employment laws.


As part of a broader labor efficiency initiative, approximately 870 Assistant Store Managers (ASMs) are being notified today that their positions are being eliminated. An additional 530 unfilled open ASM positions will not be filled. This change reflects our current business environment, along with recent and new store closures and the reduction in new store openings. The ASM role continues to be critical; however, we no longer require as many positions.

A number of organizational changes are being announced globally to ensure that we have the right structure and leadership to support our strategy. These changes include:

• Canada and Latin America will be combined into a single region (Americas) in order to leverage regional talent and leadership and to make SCI more scalable.

• Our U.S. Field Operations structure will be realigned, with DSVPs focused on setting national strategy and implementing enterprisewide programs. RVPs and their RDs and field teams will focus on ownership of their respective regions and on localizing implementation of company strategies.

We are thankful and proud of the contributions our partners make to the organization, and we are committed to treating all partners with respect and dignity — those who are departing Starbucks and those who will stay.

Over the next week or so, partners who will continue on the journey with us will have a series of meetings with their leaders and workgroups. We will use these meetings to map out a direction for the future.

In the meantime, partners have many resources available to provide support. In addition to your leadership team and Partner Resources staff, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available for all partners. In the U.S. and Canada, EAP counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at (800) 682-0364. International partners may refer to the EAP numbers in their respective regions or markets for assistance.

We realize how difficult it is to say goodbye to partners who have played such a critical role in the success of Starbucks over the years. We thank you for your passion for Starbucks — and your fellow partners.


Chet Kuchinad

evp, Partner Resources

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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