IWW Starbucks Union News

Special Event: Daniel Gross and Staughton Lynd on New Models of Worker Education

Fri, 05/25/2007 - 1:49pm -- SWU

IWW Starbucks Union Organizer Daniel Gross will join Staughton Lynd on a panel at the "Storming the Heavens": Worker Education and Social Activism Conference 2007 in New York City.  This is a can't miss event as Brother Lynd's theoretical contribution to the IWW's solidarity union at Starbucks cannot be overstated.

Solidarity unionism is a simple and elegant organizing model by which workers themselves take action around issues of concern on the job while avoiding legal and bureaucratic pitfalls.  Using solidarity unionism, IWW baristas at the world's largest coffee chain have created a meaningful check on the company's prior absolute power.  The panel, New Models of Worker Education, will take place on Saturday June 2, 2007 at 1:30pm on 25 Broadway in Manhattan.

E-mail Action: Pregnant Barista Facing Discrimination and Imminent Termination

Thu, 05/24/2007 - 12:24am -- SWU

Sisters and Brothers:

Starbucks barista Christina Rosevear and her 19 month-old daughter need your help now. Christina recently learned that she was pregnant with her second child and she promptly informed the store manager at the Northern California Starbucks where she works. Instead of being considerate of Christina's pregnancy, Starbucks began to discriminate against her.

Christina developed severe morning sickness and needed to take the occasional day off. On several occasions after she took a day off, she'd find that her work hours would be cut the following week depriving her of much needed income. Sometimes she'd receive as little as four hours of work per week! As a single mom and a low-wage worker, Christina can't afford such a dramatic pay cut. Things only got worse and now Christina is facing the prospect of an unjust termination.

Christina's doctor ordered her to take time off work to deal with a pregnancy-related back ailment that may be connected to heavy lifting at Starbucks. When Christina was ready to come back to work, the store manager warned that he might fire her for being away from the job. Christina has a meeting coming up with the manager and it's critical that Starbucks hear from people of conscience now that discriminating against someone for a pregnancy or illness is wrong.

Instead of being brushed under the rug like so many retail workers are everyday, Christina has chosen to fight back and has joined the Starbucks Workers Union [StarbucksUnion.org]. In her own words, "I need some help because I refuse to let a big corporation like Starbucks push me around."

Please lend a hand and stand by Christina as she fights this abuse from Starbucks: Take a moment to participate in this e-mail action demanding that Starbucks not fire Christina and immediately cease discriminating against her.

Thank you for your solidarity and please contact Dean Dempsey of the Bay Area IWW to get further involved in the continuing defense effort at dean@iww.org.

State of the Unions: Wobblies Look to Stand Strong Again

Wed, 05/23/2007 - 10:57pm -- SWU

Resurgent IWW breeds among New York’s Starbucks baristas and immigrant warehouse workers

by David Freedlander

May 15, 2007 


As the labor movement in America continues its backward retreat, New York has seen a surprising resurgence from the unlikeliest of places—the [Industrial] Workers of the World.

The Wobblies, as the union is commonly known, have led two high-profile organizing campaigns around the city at a series of warehouses in Brooklyn and Queens and at Starbucks locations throughout Manhattan.

Though the members are still few, they have already attracted the attention of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan), who last month issued a strongly worded letter in defense of the nascent union to Starbucks Corporation CEO James Donald.

“I fully expect that you will allow these employees to consider independently whether to form a union, without outside pressure or intimidation from Starbucks management,” she wrote. “Their efforts to organize are a democratic right and should be respected.”

Both the warehouse and the coffee shop efforts have been resisted by management, which has lead the IWW to file complaints with the National Labor Relations Board. While the warehouse case winds its way through the bureaucracy, in March of last year the NLRB found Starbucks guilty of 30 violations of federal labor law, including threatening, intimidating, and firing workers who joined the IWW.

“Our union is undergoing a resurgence right now,” said Starbucks Worker Union co-founder and IWW organizer Daniel Gross. “There were some tough years, but we are now back with a commitment to organizing again. We have enabled people to not accept the absolute power of their employer at work.”

Baristas of the Bay: Bay Area GMB on Global Day of Action for Starbucks

Wed, 05/23/2007 - 10:01pm -- SWU

By Dean Dempsey and the Bay Area SBUX Organizing Committee

For the Global Day of Action for Starbucks workers, the Starbucks
Organizing Committee of the Bay Area General Membership Branch gathered
outside a Starbucks location in Oakland, CA, to pass out fliers and to
talk to the public.

Before the distribution of union literature outside the store, two
wobblies went inside the Starbucks to talk to the workers about what we
were doing and what the Starbucks Workers Union (SWU) is all about.

Out of the four workers we talked to, three of them were in support of
the idea of unionizing. Their main grievances were their low wages,
treatment from both customers and management, and most of all, their inability to
have sufficient and secured hours. Two contacts were made.

About a dozen wobblies participated in the Global Day of Action in
Oakland, CA. We first met outside the Starbucks and then split into
groups to cover a larger area, talking to workers at other coffee


Subscribe to Front page feed