As part of our initiative called Curious Cornhuskers, Claire Jumper, a sophomore political science and psychology major, asked The Daily Nebraskan, “Why can’t the Nebraska Union Starbucks workers receive tips?”

According to Ryan Lahne, the director of the Nebraska Unions, Starbucks workers in the union are classified as food service employees, a classification that also includes Dining Services workers.

“We follow along with what else happens in dining services on campus and in the unions, and our employees do not receive tips,” Lahne said. “We also don’t have the operational structure to provide tips to our employees.”

Starbucks is unique to the union in that all other food vendors are contracted third parties that pay rent to use the space, Lahne said.

“The Nebraska Union owns a franchise agreement with Starbucks,” Lahne said, “so we purchase the Starbucks license agreement, and we own and operate Starbucks as a franchisee.”

Jumper said she learned of the workers not receiving tips from a social media app called Yik Yak, where employees expressed frustrations.

“I’ve heard complaints from multiple Starbucks workers about how working in the union is super chaotic,” Jumper said. “I think not receiving tips makes it even harder.”