Starbucks Baristas at the Mall of America Stop Work to Protest Store Closures!
From: Starbucks Union (
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2008 08:19:13 -0700 (PDT)
For Immediate Release:
Starbucks Workers Union/Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)
Contact: Erik Forman, 612-245-4871
July 21, 2008

*Starbucks Baristas at the Mall of America Stop Work to Protest Store
*Workers Demand Right to Transfer and Fair Severance for Affected Employees

Press Conference July 22, 12 noon, Mall of America Northside Parking Lot

Compelling Visuals: Angry baristas in green aprons as well as union banners,
signs, and flags

Twin Cities, MN- Baristas at the Mall of America Starbucks walked off the
café floor today and delivered a demand letter to management calling for
just treatment of all employees affected by Starbucks' closure of stores
nationwide.  The surprise job action comes in the wake of the coffee giant's
announcement that it will close 600 stores, including 27 in Minnesota.

The baristas demanded an option to transfer to other stores and a fair
severance package for affected workers. Starbucks reportedly plans to give
workers just one month notice before laying them off with a paltry two
weeks' pay  The company will insist that some baristas transfer and will
revoke severance pay if transfer offers are refused.

The protesting baristas are members of the Starbucks Workers Union, which is
a campaign of the Industrial Workers of the World labor union.  Starbucks
previously backtracked on its refusal to disclose which locations would be
shuttered after the union and others condemned the company for leaving
workers in a nerve-wracking limbo.

The store action makes the Mall of America location the first Starbucks in
Minnesota, and the first store in the Mall of America, to have a public
union presence.

Erik Forman, a barista at the store recently fired for union activity, said,
"With the skyrocketing cost of living, workers have no other choice than to
stand up for improvements on the job.  The alternative is a continued
decline into poverty and a degraded quality of life for working families.
But this doesn't have to happen. Our message is hope- even at Starbucks in
the Mall of America, we can organize and fight!"

While portraying itself as a 'socially-responsible' employer, Starbucks pays
baristas a poverty wage of $7.60/hr.  In addition, all retail hourly workers
at Starbucks in the United States are part-time employees with no guaranteed
number of work hours per week. According to Starbucks figures released to
the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 40.9% of its employees (including managers)
are covered by the company health care package, a lower percentage than the
oft-criticized Wal-Mart, which insures 47% of its workforce.

Since the launch of the IWW campaign at Starbucks on May 17, 2004, the
company has been cited multiple times for illegal union-busting by the
National Labor Relations Board.  The company settled two complaints against
it and is awaiting a decision by a judge in New York on more than 30
additional rights' violations.  Starbucks' large anti-union operation is
operated in conjunction with the Akin Gump law firm and the Edelman public
relations firm.
The IWW Starbucks Workers Union is a grassroots organization of over 200
current and former employees at the world's largest coffee chain united for
secure work hours and a living wage.  The union has members throughout the
United States fighting for systemic change at the company and remedying
individual grievances with management.  The SWU has been especially active
in New York City, Chicago, and Grand Rapids.

Union baristas, bussers, and shift supervisors have fought successfully
toward improved scheduling and staffing levels, increased wages, and
workplace safety. Workers who join the union have immediate access to
co-workers and members of the community who will struggle with them for a
better life on the job.

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