FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IWW Starbucks Workers Union (Industrial Workers of the World)
Contact: Michele Cahill, 817-368-5892
December 18, 2009
Steamed Baristas Shut Down Fort Worth Starbucks Drive-Thru to Demand Affordable Healthcare and Paid Sick Days for those Diagnosed with H1N1
Press Conference: December 18, 12:00 noon, 8th and W. Rosedale Starbucks, Fort Worth
Fort Worth, TX- Baristas and community supporters at the 8th and Rosedale Starbucks shut down the store’s drive-thru this morning and delivered a list of demands including affordable health care options and sick days for those displaying H1N1 or other cold and flu symptoms. Starbucks doubled the cost of the company health insurance plan in September, leaving many workers unable to afford treatment because of sky-high deductibles and premiums.
“We’ve had enough. Baristas should not be forced to expose customers to H1N1 or other contagions and stay sick longer, just in order to be able to make the money they need to support their families and pay astronomical health care costs. We’re making $7.30/hr., that’s a nickel above minimum wage,” said IWW Barista Michelle Cahill.
The protesting baristas are members of the Starbucks Workers Union, which is an international campaign of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) labor union. The store action makes the 8th and Rosedale location the first Starbucks in Texas to have a public union presence.
Baristas decided to move toward unionization after many workers were forced to continue working while displaying intense H1N1 and other flu symptoms, enhancing the likelihood of spreading the flu virus. The baristas are demanding that those who display H1N1 or other cold and flu symptoms be excused from work with pay to avoid exposing customers to Swine Flu.