A Starbucks Goes Wobbly

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woundedhobo
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May 18 2004 19:21
A Starbucks Goes Wobbly

For Immediate Release:

May 17, 2004

Industrial Workers of the World

Contact: starbucksunion@yahoo.com

First in Nation, Starbucks Workers Form Union

Baristas Petition for Election

New York, NY- Starbucks workers here have organized a union with the Industrial Workers of the World IU/660 and have submitted union cards today to the NLRB for a certification election. The workers are poised to become the first Starbucks Baristas union certified in the country. Starbucks Baristas at the 36th and Madison location in Midtown Manhattan have come together in an effort to raise themselves out of poverty as well as to achieve respect and dignity on the job. The workers are calling on Starbucks to obey the law as the election approaches.

“Behind the green aprons and smiles are individuals living in serious poverty,” said Daniel Gross, a worker at the store. “Baristas are the cornerstone of a Starbucks coffee shop, we just deserve better. Starbucks cashes in on a community friendly image but it certainly doesn’t extend to their workers or coffee farmers. That’s why we went Union.”

Starbucks is a $15 billion company with over 7,500 locations around the world, but workers have most emphatically not shared in their success. In New York City with one of the highest costs of living in the world, Starbucks workers start at $7.75 an hour and eventually receive raises amounting to merely a few cents. Starbucks has also developed a scheme whereby all Baristas work on a part-time basis and are not guaranteed any amount of hours per week thus making it exceedingly difficult for workers to budget for necessities like rent, utilities, and food.

“I come to work and I work hard,” said Maureen Medianero, 23, who has worked at Starbucks for almost 2 years. “But I’m still hanging on by a shoe string not knowing if I can make ends meet to support my daughter. It’s frightening.”

Although Starbuck workers serve an enormous volume of beverages, many of them extremely hot, in order to save money management refuses to schedule enough workers to do the required work safely. Instead, workers are forced to perform their duties at unsafe speeds with an undue level of physical exertion.

“A Starbucks coffee shop is an ergonomic minefield. The stores are supposed to mimic an Italian cafe without considering the uncomfortable bending and reaching we have to do,” explained Barista Anthony Polanco. “This isn’t your mom and pop coffee shop, we’re talking McDonald’s busy every day. Starbucks talks about ‘Creating Warmth’ but the only warmth I feel is the heat pad at the end of the day.”

The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), founded in 1905, is a union dedicated to workplace democracy. IWW IU/660 represents workers in the retail industry.

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Link: http://www.iww.org/

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Find a Starbucks near you to spread the word:

http://www.starbucks.com/retail/locator/default.aspx

Some more discussion over at infoshop:

http://www.infoshop.org/inews/stories.php?story=04/05/17/8624777

cantdocartwheels's picture
cantdocartwheels
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Joined: 15-03-04
May 18 2004 19:31

best news this month by miles

Jacques Roux's picture
Jacques Roux
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Joined: 17-07-06
May 18 2004 19:50

Good stuff!

But i thought Starbucks didnt allow their workers to unionise?

woundedhobo
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Joined: 16-02-04
May 18 2004 21:04

RKN, Are you being sarcastic? What company allows "their" workers to unionise? Fuck'em

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Jacques Roux
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May 18 2004 22:08

Well some companies are more liberal when it comes to dealing with unions, check out the Tesco thread in general for exam. While others like Starbucks and McDonalds are extremely hostile and wont hire unionised workers....

brizzul
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Joined: 7-10-03
May 18 2004 22:48

Fucking brilliant!

AlexA
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Joined: 16-09-03
May 18 2004 23:11

8) red n black star

giraffiti
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Joined: 6-01-04
May 25 2004 22:13

does anyone know if all the workers at the branch have joined the union?

what would happen if they struck/ striked whatever the verb is?

how did the person with the idea, presumably one of em is an @ or something, convince the others? i'd love to know more about this smile

giraffe.

Jacques Roux's picture
Jacques Roux
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May 25 2004 23:07

Yeah be interesting to hear more... doesnt seem to be much about it on the iww site..