Monday, November 17, 2008


Good news from Minnesota way. The IWW Starbucks Union has succeeded in unionizing the Nicollet and Franklin Starbucks outlet. Here's the story from the IWW website.
Starbucks at Franklin and Nicollet becomes first City of Minneapolis location to go union!:
Aaron Kocher, SWU organizer, Franklin and Nicollet Starbucks: 612-220-6454
Brendan O'Donnell, IWW member at large: 612-306-7517
Erik Forman, SWU organizer, Mall of America Starbucks: 608-695-8705
Press Conferece: 11am November 13, corner of Franklin and Nicollet

Minneapolis, MN- Baristas from the Starbucks Coffee located at the intersection of Nicollet and Franklin Avenues 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. The workers in turn declared their affiliation with the Starbucks Workers Union, a campaign of the Industrial Workers of the World labor union, becoming the first Starbucks in Minneapolis, and the second in Minnesota, to go union.

A press conference will be held Thursday, November 13, at 11 am, in front of the Franklin and Nicollet Starbucks to celebrate the solidarity of the workers and demand that Starbucks hire a security guard.

Initially, the 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," she said.

Since the beginning of 2008, there have been more than 500 police reports filed for the immediate area surrounding Starbucks. On August 3, the McDonald's restaurant located two blocks south of Starbucks was held up at gun point. On November 3, the Money Xchange less than one block from Starbucks was robbed at knife-point at 8:30 in the morning.

Christa worked for Starbucks for three years, but she was forced to choose between self-preservation and her position: "I loved the people I worked with, but there were problems. I can't tell you how many times we had to clean up feces, urine, blood, or vomit from customers who came in drunk. One time a guy didn't want to pay an extra four cents for his coffee. He started screaming at me. He came back later with a friend and started photographing me, saying, 'That's the one. I'm going to kill her.' I'm not going to risk my life for $8.50 an hour."
The customers and baristas at the Franklin and Nicollet Starbucks create a dynamic, diverse community in a changing neighborhood. The security conditions at Franklin and Nicollet have made performing the essential job duties nearly impossible. It is unacceptable for Starbucks to ignore the demands of its customers and workers. It is unconscionable for Starbucks to continue endangering their lives.

In solidarity with the workers of all Starbucks locations, the Starbucks Workers Union and Industrial Workers of the World will continue to support Starbucks employees everywhere in their efforts to create a positive, respectful work environment. The IWW will soon announce a day of action for "Black Friday," November 28, 2008, the busiest shopping day of the year, to call attention to one of the workers' core demands, a cost of living pay increase for all Starbucks baristas. Background on the Starbucks Workers Union.

The IWW Starbucks Workers Union is a grassroots organization of over 200 current and former employees of the world's largest coffee chain united for secure hours and a living wage. The Union has members throughout the United States fighting for systemic change in the company and remedying individual grievances with management. The SWU has been
especially active in New York City, Chicago, Grand Rapids, and Minneapolis.
Related Links
Starbucks Baristas Go Union!
Twin Cities GMB

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