Thursday, January 8, 2009

Starbucks Cowers to the IWW

Media Statement delivered January 7:
Faced with the prospect of losing another trial in front of the National Labor Relations Board the Regional Director has agreed to let Starbucks settle the charges against them and forego the trial that was to begin today. The union is upset that the Board is agreeing to accept another Starbucks settlement in Grand Rapids instead of holding them accountable in open court. If this most recent settlement is approved it will be 3rd one allowed by the board in Grand Rapids. With the signing of each settlement Starbucks has said they would end their anti-union intimidation and each time it has continued unabated. We can be sure it will continue which is why union membership is so vital.

Had the trial gone on here today in Grand Rapids we would have detailed the same type of union busting activity that Starbucks was found guilty of a couple weeks ago in New York. Internal communications would have been admitted into evidence showing upper management discussions about union organizing in Grand Rapids and speculation about barista's union sympathies. The same type of surveillance and monitoring that was going on in New York. Also, Starbucks selectively enforced the attendance policy, scheduled baristas based on their union sympathies, and gave me less in raises because of my union affiliation. Based on the evidence that would have been presented its unbelievable that Howard Schultz doesn't have knowledge of the huge anti-union operation in place at Starbucks. Its possible hes directing the whole operation.

On July 5th of last year there was a Global Day of Action against Starbucks called by the Grand Rapids Starbucks Workers Union and the Seville (Spain) CNT. The Day of Action was called after Monica was fired from a Starbucks in Seville and I was fired here in Grand Rapids. Over 200 Starbucks were picketed in over 80 cities in 20 countries. We have a message from the CNT with an update of Monica's situation.

"In Sevilla (Spain), the CNT has forced Starbucks to recognise the unfairness of the dissmissal of our organizer Monica. The company compensated the worker with a severance of 45 days per year as the Spanish labor laws mandates. After the global day of action, groups of workers have gotten in touch with CNT in order to join the union and organize within Starbucks. From the Local Federation of Sevilla of CNT we send our greetings to Cole Dorsey and other members of the SWU. The CNT and the IWA will respond to all the international calls for solidarity against Starbucks or other multinational coporations. We will not allow the anti-union policy of such corporations."

There is still a MIOSHA determination that has to be resolved. MIOSHA also concluded that Starbucks wrongfully terminated me. A date will be set for a trial on those charges so we may still get our day in court.

The important lesson of this process has been how important my union membership is. Had I not been a union member and Starbucks illegally fired me I would have just been fired. I happily pay my union dues every month because I know the power I have as a union member can't be produced on my own. The strength of solidarity that we have in the Starbucks Workers Union has produced positive results in every city that Starbucks has discriminated against IWW members. That is why virtually every day baristas join the Starbucks Workers Union. As Starbucks cuts labor hours for baristas nationally the only way we can combat the growing assault on our jobs is the collective direct action through the union. The economy is sinking because of corporate wrongdoing and the only way we will stop the trend and reverse the tide is through our solidarity on the job.

We have another union victory and there will be many more in the future!