user preferences

Wobblies Welcome Mall of America Baristas to the Union!

category north america / mexico | workplace struggles | news report author Thursday July 31, 2008 04:16author by Starbucks Workers Union - Industrial Workers of the Worldauthor email tcsbuxunion at gmail dot comauthor phone 612-245-4871 Report this post to the editors

IWW Delivers Cake to MOA Starbucks Workers

IWW Delivers Cake to MOA Starbucks Workers
Saturday June 26 was like any other busy Saturday at the Mall of America 1 Starbucks. A barista had called in sick during the morning shift, another had walked out in disgust the weekend prior. A Manager from another store was covering the shift of a barista who had been fired for union activity two weeks before. The store was shortstaffed, and the lines of customers were long.

p1010008_0.jpg

But this Saturday was different. By 3:00, the grinding cacaphony of the frappuccino blenders died down, as a chorus of Solidarity Forever echoed through the Mall.

“When the union’s inspiration through the workers’ blood shall run…”

Workers stepped back from their tasks to crowd around the front counter. Managers looked on in silence. About two dozen Wobblies streamed into the Mall of America 1 Starbucks to welcome the workers to the union… with a cake.

A Bigger Piece of the Pie for Baristas
On the previous Monday, the MOA baristas had declared their affiliation with the Starbucks Workers Union, a campaign of the Industrial Workers of the World. The workers issued several demands to Management: fair severance pay for baristas at closing stores, a living wage, cost of living pay increases, guaranteed minimum work hours, and an end to chronic understaffing of the stores. In short, the baristas demanded that Starbucks live up to its own rhetoric of being a “great work environment.”

The Mall of America Starbucks became the first store with a union presence in the Mall of America, and the first union Starbucks in Minnesota.

The Return of the Wobblies
The Industrial Workers of the World first rose to prominence in the early years of the 20th century. Then, as now, the labor movement was in crisis. The institutional labor movement, organized along craft lines, excluded the vast majority of workers in the mass industries– primarily women and immigrants. Under the red-and-black banner of the IWW, these workers organized, fought, and won major gains until the repression of the IWW by state forces during and after World War I.

Today, union density in the private sector has fallen to an all-time low of 9%. Working conditions that our parents’ generation would have considered unthinkable are becoming the norm. The Eight Hour Day, long the centerpiece of the labor movement’s trophy case, has been stolen out from under us. Many service workers spend 14-hour days behind the counter at two ‘part time’ jobs. The middle class is no more. The ‘America Dream’ has become an unattainable mirage for millions of workers stuck on the treadmill of debt and low-wage part-time work.

IWW baristas have taken a stand. We want to show that even at Starbucks, even in the Mall of America, we can organize, fight, and win. We are rebuilding the labor movement from the ground up, based on the only true foundation of workers power: solidarity between workers.

We call our approach to workplace organizing ‘Solidarity Unionism.’ This means that workers build power by having each others’ backs, working together to demand change and get results, as opposed to depending on the goodwill of the bosses, or our fragile legal right to form unions. The task ahead of us is not easy. Fortunately, the workers movement has left us a wealth of lessons about how to organize in this climate.

Minneapolis, 1934
Before the passage of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) in 1935, every union was a solidarity union. Section 7 of the NLRA grants workers the right to “engage in concerted activity for the purposes of mutual aid or protection.” Yet, even without the legal protections of the NLRA, workers built a powerful labor movement. The story of the 1934 Truckers’ Strike is a one of the most famous examples of solidarity unionism in practice.

In the early 1930s, workers in the Minneapolis trucking industry had almost no organization in the workplace. The Great Depression was in full swing. Working conditions were terrible, turnover was high. In the winter of 1933, all that would start to change. The Minneapolis Teamsters Local 574, numbering only 75 members, successfully organized a strike of coal drivers during the coldest months of the year. The strike victory set the stage for organizing across the entire trucking industry.

Workers from non-union shops began pouring into the union. On May 16, 1934, the Union shut down the entire trucking industry in the city by sending cars full of strikers to stop any trucks that tried to make deliveries. The workers depended on their power to stop production to win the strike, rather than using the weak provisions of the newly-inked National Industrial Recovery Act.
By May 25, the employers conceded recognition of the union and reinstatement for all strikers. But it was a qualified victory. The bosses refused to include the warehouse workers in the bargaining unit.

Not willing to allow employer divide-and-conquer tactics to succeed, the workers went back on strike on July 17. After a brutal struggle involving police attacks on unarmed picketers, the workers were finally victorious. The bosses’ opposition was broken, and Minneapolis became a union town.

Solidarity Forever
In an era of scarce union victories, the story of 1934 can remind us of the power workers have, when we choose to use it. This lesson was on our minds as we marched into the Mall of America on Saturday. We brought the Starbucks baristas a cake, but they brought us something much sweeter: proof that solidarity unionism lives on, even at Starbucks, even in the Mall of America.


Get in touch with the Twin Cities Starbucks Workers Union/Industrial Workers of the World: email us at tcsbuxunion@gmail.com, visit us on the web at http://starbucksunion.org or http://iww.org, or call us at 612-245-4871.

Related Link: http://starbucksunion.org

p1010010_0.jpg

oldglobe_0.jpg

180pxbattle_strike_1934_0.jpg

2374937_47_0.jpg

This page can be viewed in
English Italiano Deutsch
Verso lo sciopero generale e sociale nel mondo del lavoro, nei territori, nelle piazze

North America / Mexico | Workplace struggles | News Report | en

Thu 23 Oct, 17:31

browse text browse image

textDays After Settlement, Pickets Return to Insomnia Cookies 20:08 Sun 16 Mar by Jake Carman 0 comments

Picket lines have returned to Insomnia Cookies, less than two weeks after the company settled with four workers who struck in August of 2013. On Friday March 14, two dozen union members and supporters rallied in front of the Boston location of Insomnia Cookies, demanding the reinstatement with back pay of union organizer and bicycle delivery “driver,” Tasia Edmonds. On March 9 the company suspended Edmonds without pay for a month, alleging insubordination, while the union maintains she was disciplined for her union-building efforts.

portland.jpg imageSolidarity networks spread as a new alternative to ‘alternative labor’ 00:04 Tue 29 Oct by Shane B 0 comments

Here is a look at the new campaign of the Portland Solidarity Network, and how their organizing format provides a new avenue for alternative labor.

porter.jpg imageAnarchists and Wobblies Support Striking Refuelers at Toronto Island Airport 21:33 Wed 27 Feb by Paul M 0 comments

The IWW and members of Common Cause Toronto have been hitting the picket lines in support of striking refuelers employed by Porter Fixed Base Operations (FBO) at the Toronto Island airport. The strike has been bravely fought by a mere 22 workers fed up with unsafe working conditions and low wages.

textReport From Right To Work for Less Protest in Michigan 03:00 Sat 22 Dec by David 0 comments

I started the day feeling pessimistic about what would happen and even though on the whole, people came, yelled and then went home, I was a lot more encouraged by the days events than I thought I’d be.

That said, let me be clear that this is an accounting of the days events and not any sort of feeling of victory or satisfaction with the business unions’ approach or their marriage to the democratic party. This is an attempt to describe what I was seeing glimpses of, piece that are present, just below the surface in spite of the unions’ backwards ways.

This bill is only possible because most of the unions have not been organizing, have been acting in the interests of the bosses as much as in the interests of workers and have wed themselves almost completely to the democratic party, who hasn’t really given them a thing in several decades. I don’t dispute any of that and have had my share of experiences with unions that make me sick to my stomach. That said, I think it is incorrect to write them off as obsolete, having run their course or irrelevant. The hundreds of thousands of people who participate in their unions, despite their problems don’t think so and I think it is a mistake to dismiss those sentiments and commitments. That was demonstrated pretty well in what I saw on Tuesday.

apmadison.jpg imageArizona set to abolish public unions 18:40 Mon 06 Feb by John Jacobsen 0 comments

Arizona state employees’ unions were caught off guard this week with news that the state’s Republican-controlled Senate was passing a series of bills which, amongst other provisions, would completely ban unions from engaging in any negotiation which affects the terms of a person's employment with State, county or city government. [Italiano]

textConstruction strike in Quebec? 19:24 Fri 27 Aug by Voix de faits 0 comments

Since January 2010, construction workers in Quebec have been working without a contract . Nevertheless , as many bosses as unions had announced in October 2009 , exemplary negotiations that would be settled by the due date of collective agreements. Practically nine months later , workers in shipyards have yet signed agreements and the situation is becoming increasingly tense.

[Français]

text25 Dead in West Virginia Mining Disaster 05:08 Fri 09 Apr by John E Jacobsen 0 comments

This week, 25 miners lost their lives in a mine explosion at the Performance Coal Co. in Raleigh County, West Virginia. The explosion was the worst mining disaster in over two decades, if you don’t count the 10,000 who have died from black lung in the past decade.

A month ago any talk of a strike brought either yawns or fear from most people. Now there is a wide group of workers who are not only willing to strike, but WANT to strike imageWorkers @ AT&T Poised to Strike 13:41 Thu 16 Apr by Kdog 3 comments

At midnight April 5, 2009 contracts for most of the component groups represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) at the telecom giant AT&T have expired. After weeks of mobilizing, around 90,000 workers are poised to strike one of the largest and most profitable multinational corporations. A job action by CWA would be the largest and among the most significant labor action in the United States since the UPS strike in 1997. It would also be the first major strike under the Obama regime. The brewing confrontation could set the tone for class struggle in the U.S. for the near future.

textJoin with workers standing against wage theft! 04:30 Wed 18 Mar by Juice 0 comments

On January 15th the owners of the Colibri jewelery and lighter factory locked out its workers and shut down,violating the federal WARN act law, and leaving workers who gave in many cases decades of their lives to the company out in the cold with nothing.

videoRiot Cops Illegally Detain Wobblies at Mall of America 11:38 Fri 26 Sep by Starbucks Workers Union 0 comments

Video Release: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnK3I_zDuk0

Minneapolis, MN- The Starbucks Workers Union of the Industrial Workers of the World announced today that it is filing Unfair Labor Practice charges against the Mall of America, Metro Transit, and the City of Bloomington after fifty of its supporters were sealed onto a train by police at the Mall of the America station and denied the right to escort a union barista to his first day back on the job after an anti-union termination. The union delegation was headed to the Mall of the America Starbucks location on August 31st after a rally to celebrate the reinstatement of barista Erik Forman which had been won through a combination of direct action, a legal filing, and media advocacy.

more >>

image“Sharing the pains, indignities and anger” Mar 10 by Miriam 1 comments

This is an interesting interview with our comrade Miriam (M1 Detroit) on her history of “Industrialization” with her organization at the time the Revolutionary Socialist League. “Industrialization” was the term that the Left used to describe the strategy of getting mainly University and counter-culture youth activists to commit to point-of-production organizing in factories as part of the working-class. It was different than what is today known as “salting” – as “Industrialization” was not usually seen as a short-term stint around a specific campaign, but rather a long-term commitment to building a revolutionary presence in the class.

imageThe state of the union is …unequal Jan 30 by Mike Harris 1 comments

Direct action and workplace organization rather than legislation will end inequality

imageWhich way forward for Ontario teachers? Mar 20 by Richard R 0 comments

It has been over a month since the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) held their one-day protest of the provincial Liberal Party leadership convention, mobilizing some 15,000 people on the streets of Toronto and then sending them all home again around 4:00 PM. The protest was part of the trade union response to Bill 115, which enabled the provincial government to circumvent collective bargaining and mandate the terms of new “collective agreements”. [Italiano]

imageThe general strike that didn't happen: a report on the activity of the IWW in Wisconsin Nov 10 by Brendan Sawyers, Juan Conatz 0 comments

This is a report written by two IWW organizers from out of state on the activities of the union during the height of the protests in Madison and Wisconsin. The version is slightly modified from a text sent to the 2011 Delegate Convention and reflects the opinion of the authors.

imageMoving to Action Sep 07 by S. Nappalos 0 comments

When a revolutionary begins organizing in a shop, the first step is typically to agitate one's coworkers. In our minds we see a step-by-step process wherein our agitation leads to other opportunities, recruitment, committee building, until we have power and an organization. The problem is that for most workplaces, this way of thinking gives the wrong impression. In some workplaces, particularly in production, there's a state of constant agitation and actions burst out before committees ever get built. In other workplaces agitation just never seems to take hold. What do we do in these situations? What do we do when agitation takes years without much visible result, or in places where workers are clearly in the retreat or a passive state?

more >>

imageDylan's Candy Bar Workers Rally for Better Hours, Pay, & Respect Nov 02 Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union 0 comments

Dylan's Candy Bar workers staged a lively rally outside the store's flagship location Wednesday night.

imageSolidarity Callout - Domino's Pizza Drivers Dispute Aug 27 3 comments

September 15, 2012 north american Day of Solidarity with Aussie Dominos Pizza Drivers.

imageWorkers Solidarity Alliance - On Labor Day Sep 03 W.S.A. 0 comments

W.S.A. Labor Commission US Labor Day Statement

imageUnfazed by near tie, Jimmy John’s Workers vow to continue campaign Oct 23 Industrial Workers of the World 0 comments

Workers report widespread illegal activity by company

textTeachers of Miami-Dade County Call: Apr 10 1 comments

Meet 3.30pm at: Tropical Park, 7900 SW 40th Street, Miami, Florida
We need to show our power and force Governor Crist to veto the bill!
We need to meet and organize ourselves autonomously as teachers from the bottom up!

more >>
© 2005-2014 Anarkismo.net. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Anarkismo.net. [ Disclaimer | Privacy ]