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Starbucks United!

Woody | 13.01.2008 16:59 | Workers' Movements | Birmingham

On Christmas Eve, local IWW members organised a drive to raise awareness of the benefits of forming and joining employee union branches amongst the baristas working in Birmingham’s seven city-centre Starbucks stores.

Fast workers die young....take a break!
Fast workers die young....take a break!

It was hoped that the season of goodwill might also be the start of better working conditions, pay and solidarity for Starbuck’s employees. The Wobblies delivered gift-wrapped copies of a DVD documentary showing how Starbucks employees in the US have organised themselves, in conjunction with the IWW, to secure better conditions in the workplace. It was hoped that the documentary entitled, ‘Together We Win: The Fight to Organise Starbucks’ would inspire the Birmingham baristas to do the same. Free copies of the DVD were handed out as Christmas gifts for the workers in each of the Birmingham stores and only one Starbucks representative refused to accept them.
As Birmingham continues to expand its shopping and restaurant facilities, increasing numbers of workers will be needed to staff these businesses. Yet service sector and retail workers remain largely unrepresented by effective unions and ignored by bigger trade unions. The activities at Starbucks are part of a larger campaign that will encourage temporary, retail and food industry workers to organise, protect their rights and fight for better conditions and pay.

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