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(en) US, NYC, IWW* Starbucks Workers Union Scores Big Victory Against Starbucks at Labor Board

Date Sun, 12 Mar 2006 19:49:49 +0200

Coffee Giant Must Rehire Fired Baristas and Rescind National Anti-Union Policies
New York, NY- The IWW Starbucks Workers Union won a
watershed victory yesterday in the first National
Labor Relations Board conflict over unfair labor
practices between the world's largest coffee chain and
the baristas who work there. Faced with the prospect
of having its widespread union-busting campaign
exposed in a public hearing, Starbucks
agreed to remedy all of the myriad violations
committed against workers who have organized a union.

"We hope Starbucks' decision to settle reflects a
strategic assessment to cease what has been a
relentless anti-union campaign and accept the
right of baristas to gain a voice on the job by
joining together," said Laura De Anda, one of the
union members that prevailed in the proceedings. "The
IWW Starbucks Workers Union is here to stay."

Some highlights of the National Labor Relations Board
settlement with Starbucks include:

· The reinstatement of IWW members, Sarah Bender and
Anthony Polanco,who had been discharged for their
union activity in order to discourage other workers
from making a free and fair choice about whether to
join the union.

· The invalidation of Starbucks' national policy that
prohibited the sharing of written union information
and joining the union on company property.

· The invalidation of Starbucks' national no-pin
policy. Workers had been banned from wearing IWW pins
and had been sent home from work without pay for
refusing to take them off.

· An agreement by Starbucks to end threats, bribes,
and surveillance of union members.

· What would have been a hefty monetary penalty
against Starbucks was reduced because the IWW assisted
its discharged members in obtaining other employment
which mitigates damages under the National Labor
Relations Act. Still, the company will pay out almost

· And much more. To view the settlement agreement log
on to http://www.starbucksunion.org/node/712.

The union was represented by its General Counsel,
Stuart Lichten, of Schwartz, Lichten & Bright. The
NLRB attorneys on the case were Audrey Eveillard and
Burt Pearlstone.

"I'm pleased that Starbucks' blatant violation of the
law has been remedied in my case," said reinstated
barista Sarah Bender. "And now I'm just eager to get
back to work to continue the organizing drive and
chalk up more gains in wages and security of hours
with the Starbucks Workers Union."

"All I have to say to Starbucks is: I'm back," added
discharged barista, Anthony Polanco.

"The long-standing right to proudly display our union
pins has finally been reaffirmed," said Pete
Montalbano, an IWW barista whose disciplinary record
was expunged by the settlement and who received
compensation for being wrongfully kicked out of work.
"This is an important visual expression of solidarity
for co-workers and customers alike."

The NLRB complaint against Starbucks which resulted in
this settlement outlined a widespread anti-union
effort that extended to upper level management,
including a Starbucks Senior Vice President. Fifteen
Starbucks employees were named in the complaint.

The IWW Starbucks Workers Union is a grassroots
organization of Starbucks employees united to improve
life on and off the job. The campaign to organize
Starbucks is based on the solidarity unionism
model, unionism in its purest form: a group of workers
directly pressuring a corporation without getting
entangled in the cumbersome government certification
process or the alienating business-union approach.
Since its founding in May 2004, the Starbucks Workers
Union has chalked up three wage increases, more secure
work hours, and some modest safety improvements in the
area of repetitive strain injuries. Union members also
work together to remedy individual grievances such
as fixing errors in pay and eliminating exhausting
scheduling demands.

"Though we would have preferred to vindicate our
rights in an open hearing, winning a remedy for all of
our well-documented charges against Starbucks is
certainly gratifying," said Daniel Gross, an IWW
organizer and Starbucks barista whose 'final warning
before termination' was nullified by the settlement.
"It's critical to point out that while the
conclusion of this battle took place in a legal
setting, the fight was won in the streets and through
actions on the job. The union couldn't have done it
without grassroots solidarity from around the world
from places as far off as Edinburgh, Scotland and
Auckland, New Zealand to places as close to home as
New Brunswick, New Jersey and the streets of

The Labor Board's standard practice is to settle
complaints without the charged party, Starbucks in
this case, admitting guilt. Because of this, as a
symbolic matter, the IWW refused to sign on to the
settlement. The IWW believes there was ample evidence
to conclude that Starbucks was guilty of breaking the
law. Nonetheless, the settlement stands as is with the
all of the union's charges resolved.


Full Text of U.S. Gov't Settlement with Starbucks:

In solidarity

"If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning."

Fredrick Douglas
* [Ed. Note: IWW - Industrial Workers of
the World is antiauthoritarian
anticapitalist direct action syndicate.]
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