Workers Demand Right to Transfer and Fair Severance for Affected Employees
July 21, 2008
Twin Cities, MN- Baristas at the Mall of America Starbucks walked off the café floor today and delivered a demand letter to management calling for just treatment of all employees affected by Starbucks' closure of stores nationwide. The surprise job action comes in the wake of the coffee giant's announcement that it will close 600 stores, including 27 in Minnesota.
The baristas demanded an option to transfer to other stores and a fair severance package for affected workers. Starbucks reportedly plans to give workers just one month notice before laying them off with a paltry two weeks' pay The company will insist that some baristas transfer and will revoke severance pay if transfer offers are refused.
The protesting baristas are members of the Starbucks Workers Union, which is a campaign of the Industrial Workers of the World labor union. Starbucks previously backtracked on its refusal to disclose which locations would be shuttered after the union and others condemned the company for leaving workers in a nerve-wracking limbo.
The store action makes the Mall of America location the first Starbucks in Minnesota, and the first store in the Mall of America, to have a public union presence.
Erik Forman, a barista at the store recently fired for union activity, said, "With the skyrocketing cost of living, workers have no other choice than to stand up for improvements on the job. The alternative is a continued decline into poverty and a degraded quality of life for working families. But this doesn't have to happen. Our message is hope- even at Starbucks in the Mall of America, we can organize and fight!"