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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Does This Really Sound That Unreasonable?

posted by on July 2 at 12:13 PM

From the Starbucks Union site:

The IWW Starbucks Workers Union is deeply troubled that management’s numerous missteps are resulting in more serious hardships for baristas, bussers, and shift supervisors.

To ensure transparency, Starbucks should immediately disclose the locations it intends to close and outline its severance plan. Starbucks and its CEO Howard Schultz must minimize the number of layoffs, assure adequate notice to affected families, and offer severance pay which is fair. Employees and their families deserve to be able to safeguard their futures.

If Starbucks is serious about distinguishing itself from competitors like McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts, Schultz should stop prohibiting full-time status for retail hourly employees and improve a health care plan which insures a lower percentage of workers than Wal-Mart’s. And the company should stop wasting millions of dollars on its union-busting lawyers and PR professionals at Akin Gump and Edelman.

I spent over a decade working retail, and many of those jobs involved a certain amount of time discussing unionization. The truth of it was that these sorts of low-paying jobs generally don’t create enough money for a union to survive. But still, if I worked for Starbucks, I’d be really happy to see the IWW pushing for a just a little bit of dignity. In the crush of all these layoff announcements, Starbucks hasn’t really supplied any of that dignity for its baristas.

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No one held a gun to their head and made them choose a job in coffee service.

Posted by mattymatt | July 2, 2008 12:23 PM

Since the closures will happen later this year: Starbucks likely is not totally sure which stores are going to get the axe. But by all means: let's go all anti-business.

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | July 2, 2008 12:32 PM

Dignity? At Starbucks? Sure thing. Maybe they can call them "associates" instead of "clerks" -- though "clerk" is in reality a far more dignified thing to be.

I'll bet most Starbucks employees would take a few dollars more pay over dignity any day. But I'm pretty sure Starbucks' union results in a net loss of take-home pay (dues are more than bargained-for wage increases), so I guess they'll have to settle for dignity.

Posted by Fnarf | July 2, 2008 12:41 PM

#1 - #3, wow, what douchebags you all are. I just love anti-labor "liberals."

Posted by union | July 2, 2008 12:54 PM

Heh, I might actually start going to Starbucks every day if they were unionized.

Posted by elenchos | July 2, 2008 12:59 PM

If you're relying on a corporation to give you dignity, you're doing it wrong.

If you're relying on anybody other than yourself for dignity, you're doing it wrong.

Posted by Lee Gibson | July 2, 2008 1:00 PM

I'm a union member, union. But I like unions that matter. That press release comes from one that doesn't matter.

Posted by Fnarf | July 2, 2008 1:07 PM

#1 & #3, it's patrons like you that get that extra special creaminess in your latte.

Posted by OLWest | July 2, 2008 1:11 PM

"baristas" at starbucks don't actually pull shots which requires some degree of skill. unions are mostly useless in situations where the employee they are supposedly protecting can be replaced by someone cheaper or by someone else completely.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | July 2, 2008 1:17 PM

@4 What is so terribly douchey about FNARF's comment? He pointed out that union dues will likely exceed the financial benefit of collective bargaining. If you want to disagree with him, go ahead and disagree. Don't just label him and move on.

Posted by Constance Smythe-Hertzford | July 2, 2008 1:23 PM

OLWest, if you actually are a starbucks barista then you're just reinforcing the point that starbucks baristas are worthless and childish human beings that should only be making child like wages.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | July 2, 2008 1:23 PM

Use the energy invested in unionizing to get a better damned job

Posted by Non | July 2, 2008 1:37 PM

Oh, Constance, another admirer! Of the Steilacoom Smythe-Hertzfords, I assume?

Posted by Fnarf | July 2, 2008 1:40 PM

Last nite, since so many people made an issue of it, I cracked a union-made Kokanee beer and drank it in honor of Canada Day (was out of hard BC cider).

God, days like this, I sure miss living in a country where most workers are unionized ... and do a heck of a lot better as a result.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 2, 2008 1:41 PM

Will, nobody in the United States likes you anyway.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | July 2, 2008 1:51 PM

Did you seriously put "Starbucks", "dignity", and "barista" in the same sentence?

Posted by ha | July 2, 2008 1:55 PM

Will, the average American has a considerably higher standard of living than the average Canadian.

Posted by Fnarf | July 2, 2008 2:45 PM

And only 25% of Canadian workers are in a union. I'm guessing the stuff Will said about zinc is also false, but who knows? Stopped clock...

Posted by elenchos | July 2, 2008 2:56 PM

@18, a stopped clock is still pretty much useless.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | July 2, 2008 3:05 PM

@17 - no, not really. You're thinking back in the 70s, 80s, and 90s.

Not this century.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 2, 2008 3:38 PM

Time for a purge, Will; you're full of shit again.

GDP per capita, adjusted for PPP, according to the IMF, 2007: US, 45,845 (6th); Canada 38,435 (12th).

GDP per capita, adjusted for PPP, according to the World Bank, 2006: US, 43,968 (5th); Canada 36,713 (12th).

GDP per capita, adjusted for PPP, according to the CIA World Factbook, 2007: US, 45,800 (8th); Canada 38,400 (16th).

You're wrong.

Posted by Fnarf | July 2, 2008 4:28 PM

Will wrong? Really. Unbelievable.

Posted by PopTart | July 2, 2008 7:26 PM

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