Abbi is a union organizer, Abby is a restaurant owner, they answer questions from service industry workers.
All characters are fictitious and meant to explore the stark differences between how an organizer and a boss would answer the same question.
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Written by Ivy Vance
Dear Abby and Abbi,
I’ve been working at a coffee shop for two years now. When I was hired my boss said my pay would start at $10 an hour, but would go up to $13 an hour once I went through all the trainings. I am now a fully trained barista, but he still hasn’t given me a raise. I’ve talked to a few of my co-workers, and they said they’re experiencing the same thing. I’ve approached my boss, but he keeps making excuses every time I bring it up. What should I do?
Exasperated Espresso Slinger
Personally, I feel for your boss! Do you know how slim the margins for running a coffee shop are? Why do you think the drinks are so overpriced? If he’s not able to give you a raise there’s probably a reason, money doesn’t grow on trees you know. You should give him a break and be grateful you’re making even $10 an hour. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 and plenty of people are happy with that. I say that you forget the whole thing, and if you don’t like the job just find another one.
I wish I could say I was surprised that your boss promised you one thing and did another, but I’m not. However, that isn’t any reason to despair! You’ve already taken the first step and talked to your co-workers about this issue you’re all facing. I think the best way to proceed is sending a delegation of at least three workers to your boss asking for a meeting about the raises you were all promised. He can say no to one of you, but it will be more difficult for him to say no to all of you.