Workers, Customers, and Community Members Concerned About Threats and Harassment at the Location
November 12, 2008
Minneapolis, MN- Baristas at a Starbucks coffee shop in Minneapolis walked off the floor Wednesday morning to present a petition to management, signed by more than 500 concerned customers and community members, demanding Starbucks hire a security guard to ensure the safety of its patrons and partners. Today's action marks the expansion of activity by the IWW Starbucks Workers Union to a second store in the Twin Cities after baristas at the Mall of the America started taking action for improved working conditions over the summer.
Store partners circulated an internal petition, compiling signatures from most of the store's employees, requesting a meeting to discuss the security situation. After receiving no productive response from either the store or district manager, the employees turned to the customers to prove their point.
"We hoped management would recognize the need to discuss these concerns with us, but when they refused to even hold a meeting, we knew more action was needed," said Aaron Kocher, a current store employee. "We can't work when we are constantly being harassed, threatened, and intimidated, or trying to protect our customers from the same mistreatment," he said.
Nancy Athanasselis, a regular customer known to everyone at the store,
was gratified to see someone finally doing something about the problem.
"The baristas are very busy running the store. It shouldn't be up to
them to take care of security problems, but that is what ends up
happening. If Starbucks is not going to look at the human aspect, they
should at least look at how much time they spend dealing with security,"