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(en) US, Philadelphia, defenestrator* # 31 Starbucks Workers Escalate Fight - by Jack Jackson

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Mon, 20 Dec 2004 11:12:16 +0100 (CET)


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For the past half century, unionized jobs in America have been outsourced in favor
of cheaper and more subservient labor markets. With both major party presidential
candidates strongly favoring free trade at nearly any cost, some Starbuck's workers
in New York City are seeing the potential for unions to remedy the oppressive
working conditions of a sector that can't be outsourced: retail.
The battle to unionize Starbucks became public on May 17, 2004 when
employees at a New York City location announced they had joined
the Industrial Workers of the World local I.U. 660- the Retail Workers
Union. Even with vicious attacks from Starbucks, the IWW has still
managed to chalk up impressive victories.

Pressure on Starbucks' poverty wage has led the
company to implement a nation-wide pay increase
for its employees. The Union is certainly
pleased to see more money ending up in workers'
pockets, but is quick to point out that the
wage increase was a pre-emptive strike by
Starbucks against the IWW. The IWW has also
succeeded in highlighting the prevalence of
repetitive strain injuries at Starbucks. The
company was forced to admit in a safety bulletin
to workers and in new-hire materials that the
Starbucks workplace can lend itself to these types of
injuries. Since the workers at the Midtown store organ-
ized, management has capitulated to the demands to
adequately staff the store, and increased scheduled
labor hours by 50%.

The Starbucks Workers Union is based on a
structure known as solidarity unionism. That
means that any Starbucks worker anywhere can
join the union at anytime, with no need for a
majority in a given shop or region. The Union and
its allies are busy reaching out to Starbucks workers
with information about the possibility of a better life at
work.

Predictably, the government is lending Starbucks
a hand in trying to break the Union. At a
peaceful union rally during the RNC, two
Starbucks workers were arrested. Daniel Gross still
faces jail time. He will go to trial November 19
on trumped up charges of resisting arrest and
disorderly conduct. Legendary radical attorney
Leonard Weinglass is representing Mr. Gross.

The campaign is asking people to help build a radical union presence at Starbucks in their
communities. To get involved log on to www.starbucksunion.org.
Jack Jackson is a graduate of the Cornell Univeristy School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
He is currently doing labor activism in Brooklyn.
===========================
* [Ed. note: The defenestrator is of an
Anarchist/antiauthoritarian perspective]


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