Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Put Down That Latte, Tell Starbucks To Stop Union-Busting

When you think about union-busting, does Wal-Mart come to mind? There's certainly justice in that response. How about Starbucks? True, it cultivates a more progressive image. But when it comes to union-busting, Starbucks is on par with Wal-Mart. Consider this ruling in December:

A National Labor Relations Board judge ruled...that Starbucks had illegally fired three baristas and otherwise violated federal labor laws in seeking to beat back unionization efforts at several of its Manhattan cafes.

The administrative law judge, Mindy E. Landow, found that Starbucks had also broken the law by issuing negative job evaluations to union supporters and prohibiting employees from discussing the union even though the employees were allowed to discuss other subjects not related to work.

Starbucks demands that its full-time workers be available 70 percent of open store hours even though the company doesn't guarantee that an employee will work any of those hours. This commitment makes it difficult for Starbucks baristas to take a second job. Starbucks also provides a lower percentage of its work force with health insurance than Wal-Mart does, 40.9% to 47%.

Starbucks, Whole Foods and CostCo have joined together to weaken the Employee Free Choice Act, which would give workers the right to form a union either through signing cards or a secret ballot. The three organizations' "compromise" on the issue is to demand that an unreasonably high 70% of the workers sign the cards affirming that they want to unionize. 

Brave New Films has produced a new video on Starbucks' union-busting tactics:



After watching, sign the petition to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz demanding that he allow workers to organize and stop opposing the Employee Free Choice Act. As Ari Yampolsky, campaign coordinator for the Service Employees International Union, puts it, “The choice about whether and how to form a union is something that belongs to workers. Employers should have about as much say in that as workers do about whether and how employers join the Chamber of Commerce.”

To read more about Starbucks' union busting activities, click here.

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