retail and food

Christmas at Starbucks

An account by Liberté Locke about working at Starbucks in New York over the Christmas season.

Starbucks is a job in which the boss is so shitty that he can lose everything in Hurricane Sandy and his sympathy only lasts a couple weeks.

IWW liquor store workers in Minneapolis fired for union activity

Some updates on a recent IWW campaign in Minneapolis, in which 5 workers were fired for organizing.

From The Organizer:

Consuming lattes and labour, or working at Starbucks - Bryant Simon

An in depth portrait of what it is like to work at one of the most conspicuous components of the neoliberal order: the upscale looking, fast-food acting coffee chain, Starbucks. Simon discusses the emotional labors of being a happy and chatty “partner” (employee), the difficulties of the uneven scheduling, the unexpected physical aspects of the job, and the culture of conformity at the nation’s largest seller of coffee and affordable luxury.

The essay assesses the corporations’ reputation for being a good employer and contains extensive interviews with Wobblies trying to organize the chain. It suggests how workers are consumed by and with the brand in what the author calls “New Age welfare capitalism.”

International Labor and Working-Class History / Volume 74 / Issue 01 / September 2008, pp 193-211.

Requiem for a campaign

An organizer's overview of an ended Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) campaign in the Twin Cities.

Oftentimes as workplace organizers, we have a difficult time admitting our mistakes. We are driven and strong-willed, and though these attributes often aid us in the struggle, they can also hold us back from self-reflection and acknowledgment of our flaws. As Wobblies, how do we cope with the realization that our entire campaign was perhaps a mistake from the start?

Thousands of Coca Cola workers walk off the job

Thousands of Coca Cola workers across Germany are staging a series of short term ‘warning’ strikes this week in protest over their wages. Workers at two factories in Bavaria walked out today, with a further 50 plants expected to follow suit later in the week.

The warning strikes generally last several hours, and are a common tactic used by German trade unions. They are the first step up on the pressure on employers in anticipation of the next round of wages negotiations. Workers are demanding a 6% pay-rise for all of Coca Cola’s 10,600 employees across Germany. The bosses are only prepared to offer a 2% rise.

South African vineyard workers erupt

For the second time in the last few months vineyard workers in the Western Cape Province, South Africa have clashed with bosses, scabs, private security goons, and the Police. They are demanding that their paltry wages are doubled, and an improvement in their working conditions. Countless injuries have been reported and at least 50 people have been arrested.

Wildcat strikes have been reported across the Cape region, which is of huge financial importance to the South African state – both in terms of wine production, and the tourist industry….. The government are worried about “business confidence”..

IKEA struggle: January update

Ikea picket 3rd january

On January 3rd, porters and stores workers at IKEA and subcontracted cooperatives in Piacenza again blocked the entrance to the warehouse.

Over the past two months, in spite of an uphill battle against the giant furniture company, workers in loading & unloading, logistics and goods distribution have led a nation-wide struggle with initiatives taking place all over Italy. A small and symbolic demonstration also took place in a IKEA store in Stockholm.

Fired workers taken to court for blogging about work conditions

Solidarity with the Workers of Natais popcorn factory in France! Exposed to hazardous substances, forced to work on precarious conditions, the workers tried to fight back. On Thursday, two former employees will be in court for supposedly "defaming" their former employer!

On Thursday, December 13, 2012, former workers from the Natais popcorn factory in Bézéril, France will go to trial for supposed „defamation” of their ex-employer, for talking about their working conditions on a blog.

IWW John Lewis cleaners win pay rise

Cleaners at contractor ICM working in John Lewis stores in London, who are members of the Industrial Workers of the World revolutionary union, have won a 9% backdated pay rise following them balloting for strike action.

Outsourced John Lewis cleaners have won an immediate and backdated 9% pay rise following their pledge of industrial action. The increase, backdated 5 months, takes their pay to £6.72 per hour at three central London sites, and £6.50 at one outer London site. Supervisors will now get £8.00 per hour and £7.84 respectively.

14N European strike: Bologna

Demonstration in Bologna

Four rallies, involving 10,000 people, crossed Bologna as part of the European general strike on 14 November 2012. The rallies left at 9 a.m. from different parts of the city, marching along all major streets, from those of the university quarter to shopping areas to the avenues where most urban traffic circulates.

One rally was lead by the CGIL union, which had called for a strike of just four hours. It covered a short distance and then ended the morning with a speech from the local leader, Danilo Barbi. Just around 1,000 people took part in this demonstration, which also included the Mayor, Virginio Merola, and some important local representatives of the PD.