The current of issue of the Industrial Worker, the official newspaper of the IWW, has an article about the government complaint against Starbucks for violating the rights of union baristas. Starbucks has launched a relentless union-busting campaign to keep the money and power on the side of the executives and not in the hands of those who work hard every day making drinks, interacting with customers, cleaning the bathrooms, and operating the cash registers. Despite the anti-union campaign, barista-union members are improving their life at work by taking direct action against the company around issues of concern like insecure work hours and disrespectful management.
IWW Starbucks Union News
Starbucks protest in Lancaster, PA draws 30
by John Schreck
Lancaster, PA - On May 17th, the Lancaster branch of the Industrial Workers of the World and the Lancaster Students for a Democratic Society protested for over three hours at the Columbia Avenue store in solidarity with the IWW-Starbucks Workers Union. At the peak of the event 25 demonstrators were in attendance and approximately 30 people attended all together.
Three years after the founding of the IWW Starbucks Workers Union, the organization has members in multiple U.S states successfully using Direct Action to rise out of poverty and articulate an independent voice on the job.
To silence worker voices, Starbucks has disgracefully terminated eight SWU baristas in retaliation for their union activity. The SWU has prevailed against Starbucks to reinstate two of the members but six
remain out of a job. Despite multiple Labor Board complaints, the coffee giant continues to punish baristas for discussing the union and relentlessly forces union-busting propaganda down workers throats. Starbucks must understand that working people of conscience will not allow this affront to the dignity
of our class.
The demonstrators split into three groups and fanned out across a large parking lot. While singing pro-union songs and waving an array of anti-corporate coffee signs to passing cars, attendees handed out several hundred flyers to those interested, several of which decided against purchasing Starbucks products upon learning of repeated labor violations.
Lancaster has several fair trade coffee shops in the downtown area, but corporate giants are now all around the city. Millersville University, located just outside the city limits, had success getting fair trade coffee introduced to the student body three years ago. However, the university has yet to switch over to all fair trade. Franklin & Marshall, another local university, also is not a completely fair trade institution. Several groups in the area are working to target schools/universities/public areas' distribution of "unfair" trade in the coming months and years.
For more information, please see the following sites:
Lancaster IWW - www.lancasteriww.org/
Lancaster SDS - www.newsds.org/lancaster/
IWW - Starbucks Workers Union - www.starbucksunion.org/
The French CNT organized actions of solidarity with the IWW Starbucks campaign as part of the global commemoration of the union's third anniversary. CNT activists entered the 4 biggest Starbucks in Paris to distribute flyers to the costumers and the workers until being expelled by nervous management. One nervous manager told the activists he had been alerted that the, "CNTists were coming!"
The CNT members were joined at the action by two members of the Industrial Workers of the World. The CNT has pledged further actions and to stand behind the Wobbly baristas until victory.
Solidarity to SWU from Starbucks Baristas in Geneva, Switzerland!
On the occasion of the May 17th Day of Action to commemorate the third
anniversary of the founding of the IWW Starbucks Workers Union
[StarbucksUnion.org], we, the undersigned workers/baristas employed at
Starbucks here in Geneva, Switzerland, convey our greetings to our
comrades in the United States. We salute your direct action,
solidarity form of unionism, and your creative and courageous struggle
to use it as an instrument for gaining workers' democratic control and
dominion over their own human labor. Vive la lutte et la solidarité
À l'occasion du 17 du mai jour d'action pour commémorer le troisième
anniversaire de la fondation du syndicat d'IWW Starbucks
[StarbucksUnion.org], nous, les travailleur(se)s/baristas
sous-signé(e)s de Starbucks ici à Genève, Suisse, transmettons nos
salutations à nos camarades aux Etats-Unis. Nous saluons votre style
de syndicalism action directe et solidaire, et votre lutte créatrice
et courageuse pour l'utiliser comme instrument pour gagner du dominion
et de l'autonomie démocratique des ouvrier(ère)s eux(elles)-mêmes
sur leur propre travail humain. Vive la lutte et la solidarité globale!
Signed by a group of Starbucks Baristas at the Quai des Bergues and Rue du Mont-Blanc stores.
The Duisburg local federation of the FAU-IWA had a stall in front of the new Duisburg Starbucks on Friday, 18th. Workers at Starbucks have been informed about the repression against their fellow-workers in the USA and about the SWU. Many clients and people passing by were very upset about Starbucks anti-workers policy and told that they would not enter the shop again. People were as well upset about the presence of Starbucks in a brand-new luxury shopping mall in Duisburg, a poor industrial town with up to 20 percent of people without a job. Those who can read German will find more detailed information at the FAU website (http://www.fau.org/artikel/art_070519-064536) as well as some photos taken during the picket at Indymedia Germany (http://de.indymedia.org/2007/05/177523.shtml).