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June 21, 2007

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danielle

anyone who has worked for the company for a while can tell you that once Starbucks gets dinged by ONE lawsuit, they immediately implement change to ensure no other lawsuits occur. I am pretty sure (not positive) that Starbucks has their butt covered on this one!

joe

No one should be surprised at this. Those of us that are not *$ employees would also probably get canned if we shadowed our VP's somewhere and harassed them.

If you don't like the way you are treated, find different employment. It's not that difficult, really.

Another option is to apply for the VP position. If you are not qualified, get qualified and quit making excuses.

Mike Miller

They better get used to it. . .just wait until the shareholders' meeting! :-P

zepling

That's funny.

ummm.....the shareholders meeting was a couple months ago....and nothing happened....

Greg

Labor Unions are nothing but trouble and I hoe Starbucks will grow a Backbone on this one and stick to their original stance.

Ringo Kamens

"anyone who has worked for the company for a while can tell you that once Starbucks gets dinged by ONE lawsuit, they immediately implement change to ensure no other lawsuits occur. I am pretty sure (not positive) that Starbucks has their butt covered on this one!"

Untrue, Starbucks has been fined and found guilty on several counts of firing or harassing workers for protection union activities by the National Labor Relations Board but they still continue union-busting.

"If you don't like the way you are treated, find different employment. It's not that difficult, really."
Or you could organize and demand justice. The issue here is not whether these people can move, but whether they should be treated with dignity and respect. Starbucks has not been treating its workers with dignity and respect and they have been violating labor laws.

"Another option is to apply for the VP position. If you are not qualified, get qualified and quit making excuses."
You can't just go to college and get a "VP Degree". Even if you could, the poor wouldn't have access to this so before you criticize people for not being qualified, ask yourself if it's even possible for them to be qualified.

"Labor Unions are nothing but trouble and I hoe Starbucks will grow a Backbone on this one and stick to their original stance."
We saw in the past with unions like the Teamsters and their mob associations that unions can go bad, but this won't happen with the Starbucks union. Nobody gets cuts of dues, the union has very little money, and it is organized by the IWW which has a revolutionary stance and is known for not backing down or compromising in the defense of the rights of workers. These workers are asking for dignity, respect, decent pay, predictable hours, and the legally protected right to organize.


"The issue here is not whether these people can move, but whether they should be treated with dignity and respect. Starbucks has not been treating its workers with dignity and respect and they have been violating labor laws."

I feel treated with dignity and respect, and all my managers have made quite sure to adhere to all labour laws regarding workplace safety & employee scheduling.

"We saw in the past with unions like the Teamsters and their mob associations that unions can go bad, but this won't happen with the Starbucks union."

Can I see in to your crystal ball too?

"it is organized by the IWW which has a revolutionary stance"

Go smash capitalism somewhere else, I like my job, I like my managers, and bringing in a union to turn my relationship with my boss in to an adversarial one is precisely the last thing I want to do

Ringo Kamens

"I feel treated with dignity and respect, and all my managers have made quite sure to adhere to all labour laws regarding workplace safety & employee scheduling."

Obviously the feelings towards managers differ between locations. The reason these New York baristas have decided to organize is because they aren't being treated with dignity and respect. Unionizing is a legally protected act (they can't legally fire you for it) but if you were to distribute union literature or try to unionize your location do you think they'd let you? They haven't let other baristas do it.

"Can I see in to your crystal ball too?"
The IWW is not a standard union and doesn't follow the structure of regular unions. The NRLB rarely ever sees over their votes because they use the sheer power of the workers and international solidarity to get the justice they deserve.

"Go smash capitalism somewhere else, I like my job, I like my managers, and bringing in a union to turn my relationship with my boss in to an adversarial one is precisely the last thing I want to do"

Even though IWW is anti-capitalist, the starbucks union doesn't spread that message. What workers want now is respect for themselves and the farmers that produce the beans, not the destruction of capitalism. It is a direct democracy, so every workers gets the same vote. There are no "union bosses" calling the shots.

But again, this is a diversion. The point here is that people are against the Starbucks union when they are organizing to get their rights restored that were granted to them by US law. Is that too much to ask?

richard myers


Why is it that employees who are full-fledged citizens of the United States are required to give up their first amendment rights the moment they cross the boss's doorstep?

Where in the U.S. Constitution does it say that all of these rights apply across the board, in any situation that you might encounter as a citizen, *except* in relation to your employer?

Where in the U.S. Constitution are we informed that the nation was founded on the principle that corporations have more rights than individuals?

richard myers

CaliSM

For me personally, it's not a matter of the reaches of our freedom of speech. There is clear mention in every Success Profile, Job Description and Review form, for every position in the operations chain (at least from the SM level down) of supporting the company in both "good times and bad" regardless of whether you completely agree with every decision or action they make. If an action isn't supported by the company's Mission Statement and Guiding Principles, there are some great ways to call attention to it.

What I would like to know is, who lied to so many of these partners about how much money they would be making, or what the store's hours of operation are, or about the expectations on availability, and tricked them into working for the company? If someone did lie to them, than those liars should be held accountable. However, in my experience over the last few years with the company, these things are all spelled out very clearly...I've sure never tricked anyone into working at one of my stores under false claims of "set-schedules" or pay above what is reasonable for the industry. Also, the expectations of the job are spelled out very clearly in the job description, periodic-review forms, and training materials that are all presented very early on, if not at the time the employment offer is made. While the expectations are high (which is the reason the company has been so successful) no one is shackled to their store. If anyone who calls themselves a "partner" does not want to be a contributing factor in the company's future success, doesn't feel a sense of pride in what they do, or simply doesn't believe in the company at all...for the love of God, why subject yourself to such a miserable experience day in and day out. Go find a job that you can enjoy and be passionate about...there's no shame in that. A job is not a right, it is a privilage. If it was a right, there wouldn't be nearly as many unemployed out there. We all need the paycheck...but, why not get something more out of what you do every day?

Nena

Unions never...Starbucks Rocks! If you dont like it...leave! Its pretty simple. If you think you can do so much better elsewhere...use the door. Go to a place that already has a union...

Ringo Kamens

"For me personally, it's not a matter of the reaches of our freedom of speech. "

That's not really my issue here either. The issue is people are being fired for unionizing which regardless of whether you believe it should be protected or not, it is. It is protected by the National Labor Relations Act among several other laws. Firing workers for unionizing is illegal so even if you see all of my other goals such as higher pay, respect, dignity, fair prices, etc. as bogus, then certainly you would still believe in not breaking the law as a habit.

"There is clear mention in every Success Profile, Job Description and Review form, for every position in the operations chain (at least from the SM level down) of supporting the company in both "good times and bad" regardless of whether you completely agree with every decision or action they make."

And these employees were supporting the company. They were doing their job, getting up every morning and putting on their cheer for the customer, and taking things through official channels. They were also unionizing which is why they got fired. But they were still supporting the company,

"If an action isn't supported by the company's Mission Statement and Guiding Principles, there are some great ways to call attention to it."

These employees have gone through those official channels. Motions have been introduced by shareholders. Consumers have asked for justice. And it didn't work. Because of this, workers are starting to unionize. I don't honestly believe they would have unionized if there were an easier option that hadn't already been exhausted.

"What I would like to know is, who lied to so many of these partners about how much money they would be making, or what the store's hours of operation are, or about the expectations on availability, and tricked them into working for the company?"


I don't think those things were ever made to future employees. If they were, the makers of those promises should be punished. If the union says that Starbucks is lying, they're referring to several things. One, their PR campaigns say they are good corporate citizens and just isn't true. They don't pay farmers good wages like they claim, they aren't worker friendly if they're trying to stop unionization and representation, and they have been caught several times lying to public officials.

"I've sure never tricked anyone into working at one of my stores under false claims of "set-schedules" or pay above what is reasonable for the industry. Also, the expectations of the job are spelled out very clearly in the job description, periodic-review forms, and training materials that are all presented very early on, if not at the time the employment offer is made. "

The union is fighting for these things because it believes workers deserve them, not because it was ever promised.


"While the expectations are high (which is the reason the company has been so successful) no one is shackled to their store. If anyone who calls themselves a "partner" does not want to be a contributing factor in the company's future success, doesn't feel a sense of pride in what they do, or simply doesn't believe in the company at all...for the love of God, why subject yourself to such a miserable experience day in and day out."

There are several reasons. This is like asking why a person would be in a gang, or why they would work in an indian sweatshop. Because they have to. Finding another job is hard and at the wages starbucks pays, you won't have a lot of money to use while looking for a new job. Changing is hard, and if you leave then you are giving up on your fellow workers. They will still be stuck there and there's something you could have done to improve their working conditions.


"Go find a job that you can enjoy and be passionate about...there's no shame in that."

This isn't a realistic expectation for a lot of people, especially if they can't afford to go to college or live in a poor area.

"A job is not a right, it is a privilage. If it was a right, there wouldn't be nearly as many unemployed out there. We all need the paycheck...but, why not get something more out of what you do every day?"

Again, you're putting words in the union's mouth. The union never said being able to work was a right or anything along those lines. The union is working for better conditions for baristas, and nothing more.

Ringo Kamens, you are annoying. I hope you don't work for Starbucks. And if you do, I hope you leave because frankly, you don't deserve the priviledge of being a partner.

If you work for Starbucks and you are not happy, leave. It's that simple. If you want things done you're way, all of the time, start your own business, or go to Burger King.

CaliSM

Ringo,
First, I never put any words in the unions mouth...which is why I did not place quotes around my reference to a job being a privilage and not a right. It is simply me agreeing with a fairly common saying. Just exercising my freedom to express my opinion. Also, I can relate to those who do not have a degree and/or live in poor areas. I have spent the last 10 years chipping away at my degree, funding my education mostly on financial aid, grants, and scholarships...education is expensive, my family was poverty level in my childhood. I would love to make unreasonably higher pay for what I do, who wouldn't. I just do not see any reason in paying someone the price lobbied for by the union to do the job of a barista. I was a barista for 2 years, then shift supervisor, asm, and now store manager and can remember few coworkers who have even put enough effort into their work to earn even the minimum, much less a raise. I have worked very hard to achieve the little that I have and there are many out there like me. Unfortunately, most of the past (and current) co-workers who I can remember complaining about their pay, benefits, or treatment, are the same individuals who look for every little speck and hole in the rule-book to be non-conformists. They often spent their time memorizing the handbooks so that they can find loop-holes, rather than uphold it. They submit ridiculous availabilities simply to allow themselves time to recover from expected hangovers, or to sleep in because "they're not morning people". I'm all for equal treatment, but I'm also for hard-work. I speak only from my own experience, and am in no way attacking the union itself. I understand the purpose of a union. They do serve a valuable purpose, most of the time. If you are going to continue to disect my posts, at least do me the service of not writing your own intent into it as if it were my own.

Anonymous

"No Name"....you are a simpleton with a lack intelligensia to back your mouth up.

Ringo is annoying to you because you can't comprehend a word he's trying to convey and you know deep inside, he's correct that it is ILLEGAL to fire people who unionize. It's a federal violation. If you can't comprehend legalese, you're nothing but brainwashed sheep.

I don't work for Starbucks, but your attitude proves my point about you being elitist with a snobby attitude.

I make MORE now compared to your meager $7.50 an hour barista position. Now, do you enjoy my condescending?

How about this...go to any bar or nightclub and ask a bartender how much they make a night...and tell them you're a barista. Do you feel equal to them?

Also, ask yourself this...do you want to mess with Starbucks or the Federal Government? Which of the two has the power to kick your a$$?

Think twice before you open your mouth.

Josh - Former Barista

"Go smash capitalism somewhere else, I like my job, I like my managers, and bringing in a union to turn my relationship with my boss in to an adversarial one is precisely the last thing I want to do"

Unions don't make your relationship with your boss adversarial, they make your relationship with corporate adversarial. On the management level, unless you got some hack who is just trying to climb the ladder as quickly as possible, unions won't factor into the relationship you have with your manager. I had an amazing manager the 5 years I worked there and I can say that she took care of my fellow baristas and I to the extent that it never felt like we needed to go join a union to improve our job satisfaction but...

Try working for a store where the management treats you like a stair step to a DM position. Would you appreciate your job if your manager treated you like a replaceable tool rather than an investment that must be nurtured over time? Having a good work ethic doesn't protect you against bad managers, and if every manager at starbucks was as good as yours, if every DM, and every RM, and every person in corporate were truly concerned with creating a third place for the customers and a good work place for the employees do you think anyone would be entertaining the thought of unionizing?

Perhaps, but it wouldn't be a popular idea.

Ringo Kamens

"Ringo Kamens, you are annoying. I hope you don't work for Starbucks. And if you do, I hope you leave because frankly, you don't deserve the priviledge of being a partner."

Thanks for the compliment. I do not work at Starbucks but I have been working to spread the union message to my friends at SBC and Starbucks branches. So far, they (even people I don't personally know) have been very welcoming and excited about the prospect of a better life and all the things the union is fighting for.

As for poverty I understand that is is possible and many people do pull themselves out of the whole. I was somebody who was born with a silver spoon in my mouth so I'm not here playing the victim game and crying that I'm not a morning person or that I can't go to college because of my financial situation. Those people certainly do exist, and I am sick of them. I don't fight for them and the IWW Starbucks union doesn't fight for them. What the union has fought for is workers fired for organizing, being fired because of pregnancy, and higher wages. There's a lot of misconceptions about the union and I came here to try and clear some of those up.

"If you are going to continue to disect my posts, at least do me the service of not writing your own intent into it as if it were my own."

Sorry, but the way you phrased it made it sound like the union had said it. Thanks for the clarification.


Starbucks is a deplorable company and I've bee boycotting them for a long time before they even started their anti-union campaign for their poor treatment of farmers and irresponsible use of farmland (intensive farming that caused runoff and serious ecological harm). The company is not deplorable because of the decisions made by Baristas or management, it is deplorable because of the board decisions and the select few who have carried them out. (Somebody has to lie to farmers and buy out all the land around them). It sickens me to see managers fire workers for unionizing or putting them under surveillance and hire PIs to stop union campaigns. If the starbucks union is really such a bad organization and there's no honesty to their claims that workers don't have the respect and dignity that they deserve, then the union drive would fail. It hasn't. Despite union-busting and a handle of underhanded tactics like kicking people off the sidewalk (ruled as a constitutionally protected free speech zone regardless of property ownership) exercised by Starbucks and some of its managers, the union drive has been very successfully. Baristas are hearing the message and they are agreeing with it, at least in the New York branches. I can't speak for workers at other locations, or even for the ones in New York, but they wouldn't have unionized if there wasn't a need for a union to defend them.

CaliSM

Ringo,
Please don't misunderstand me. I admire your passion for your cause. I think that we are almost at the point of "agreeing to disagree", which is a good place to be. I may not agree with you, but your doing what you feel is right, just as I am.
I want to point out though, that I did not post that part about you being annoying, I try not to attack people in such an ignorant and cowardly fashion, but your post makes it look that way.
Keep fightin for your cause, and I'll continue to NOT be the kind of manager that your cause is against.

BIGJIMBO

Retail and Service industry unions. It's just another way to say winey, no-work-ethic, lazy, POS employees with no since of self dignity.
Unions are designed to take care of much bigger problems than not getting your lunch on time. When you get fired for losing your thumb due to a work place accident in a situation that has repeatedly violated OSHA standards then you can cry about it. But don’t wine because you missed the one hour sushi buffet at the local hibachi place due to an unexpected rush.

Ringo Kamens

Sorry, I thought it was clear at the attacks on me were from another poster. Yeah, I'm not putting that blame on you. From what I hear, you treat your employees well and I'm sure you do get a lot of mis-treatment from the higher ups and if you don't then you're lucky. I encourage you to continue to make Starbucks a place where justice, dignity, and respect are an accepted standard even if it's just in your part of the company. If ever you want to learn more about the union or what you can do to improve working conditions, I encourage you to email me and I'll even hook you up with my phone number.

Comments from "BigJimbo"

"When you get fired for losing your thumb due to a work place accident in a situation that has repeatedly violated OSHA standards then you can cry about it. But don’t wine because you missed the one hour sushi buffet at the local hibachi place due to an unexpected rush."

Workers in the Starbucks union are "crying" about serious problems. These problems include union-busting (Illegal under the NRLA), sexual harassment (also illegal), firing for pregnancy (also illegal), and below poverty wages paid to farmers. I'm not going to respond to any more of your posts unless you form arguments and provide supporting evidence instead of throwing these primitive emotional responses at me like you have been doing thus far.

rek2

Unions are never a bad thing.. go unions!!!

DuelingDuettos

This is my question, if you hate the job/company so much, and you feel so mistreated, then why do you stay around and tolerate it? Why fight a corporation that doesn't respect you, just go to one that actually does...You ever notice that the people(The large majority) who are all hot for the union aren't the ones who actually take the job seriously, the people who always are screwing up, who are unreliable, and who just doesn't give a damn/ I've been with the Company long enough to know that for the most part, if you work hard, and take an interest in your job, you will be well paid for it..If you just give a damn, they will bend over backwards in order to keep you around. I've been with the company for almost 5 months, and I've already been tapped for a move up to Shift, and that's because I come early, stay late, and maintain focus on the job at hand. That and the fact that my DM really likes the fact that I take an interest in finding ways to be more efficient/knowledgeable(I helped put together a tea cupping club, that we do in store, and we currently have 15 people in it) I don't need a union to do something that I can do myself, and that's climb the ladder. Just work hard, and keep plugging away, and you will get the things you desire, but I guess it's just easier to hold a card, and bitch your way to things that other people had to actually work for..

CaliSM

Ringo-
When I was younger my dad lost a good job due to an altercation with a coworker who was of similar title and tenure. The coworker was not let go. The difference was that the coworker was a member of the union, and my father, who worked very hard at his job, was not. Initialy both were deemed equally at fault by the company, and were suspended for a period of time. Upon returning to work my dad found out that the coworker had contacted the union and they had intervened on his behalf. My dad was fired, and told by a good friend and supervisor, that it happened in order to keep this out of the public eye. When all was said and done, a union rep basically told him that he was not their concern, but was welcome to join once he found new employment. His actions to hold the company accountable earned him a small severence, but didn't erase the huge blemish to his employment record.
You will forgive me if I declne your offer for union information. Between my experiences, and the information that I have researched on my own, I will choose to trust the company that has proven itself to me so far. The best part about it is that I have the opportunity to make a difference everyday, and see that nothing happens within my reach to warrant the need for union activity. Hopefully one day I will be in a position of greater ifluence, and do you the favor of freeing up the time that you have to spend seeking justice in current situations. You keep doing your part, and I will keep doing mine.

praxisguy

This is an interesting train of thought.

Has the NLRB determined that this woman was fired for yelling, "shame, shame"?

No.

They've accepted it as part of the other allegations. Those are two completely different things.

Most of the issues the nlrb is looking at--just follow the link at the NYTimes site--concerns talking about the union in the store.

As a partner, I can see,how folks could be on edge about hearing partners talk about a union -- with all the tension in certain stores (IWWs goal) -- and because with such a good culture and work environment, it doesn't make sense to a lot of partners why anyone might be interested in joining.

I bet that if a manager, upon overhearing a conversation--the backrooms are small--raised their eyebrows or on half hearing people talking said, "what are you guys talking about" that it would be raised to the nlrb as fighting the union.

Starbucks is a good company. That is why the union has not been successful in swaying partners. They've been working hard for the last three years or so and there is no widespread interest.

It's success is primarily in drawing attention, which it can do because of Starbucks size and reputation. It can also assign a person or two to post on a board like this one.

Starbucks has so many resources, things it does and offers partners. There are always people you can talk to about your needs and concerns. It's one of the things I like the best.

Starbucks takes care of the farmers who grow the coffee we sell. In a falling price market for coffee, we continue to pay the highest prices, fairly trading, even when a farmer can not pay the fee to label his coffee "Fair Trade."

In general I tend to like unions, but here? I say, "Shame! Shame! IWW"

SUPERSTARBARISTA

It pisses me off that this is going on, regardless of your political affiliations, everyone has the right to CHOOSE whether or not they wish to be a part of the union. Rather than forcing a shadowing progaram similar to Wal-Mart perhaps Starbucks should wonder why their workers want to unionize so badly. Thing is, we aren't just workers as shareholders we have a voice. The only language that these major corporations understand is that of dollars and cents. I say we dump our shares until we get our way. I liked the part of the article where it likened Wal-Mart to Starbucks. It saddens me that I work for this sort of company but you have to pay the bills somehow.

BIGJIMBO

“I'm not going to respond to any more of your posts unless you form arguments and provide supporting evidence instead of throwing these primitive emotional responses at me like you have been doing thus far.”

First off… You are not god’s gift to unions. I never did ask you to respond to me and your holier-than-thou attitude that I must need and want a response from you is self-inflating and overly egotistical.

“Union-Busting” Firing a barista for failing to follow dress code. Why have dress codes at all? I’ve worked with partners that have been fired for wearing dirty aprons. Go Starbucks. I hated working with partners out of dress code. It is a blatant disrespect for company policy. They usually stunk and wore the same close every day. They always tended to have problems with customers.

Sexual harassment. I have not witnessed this one in my seven years with the company. I have worked in bars and food service before, and I truly expected to see a lot of sexual harassment when I came on with the company. It just wasn’t there. If baristas are experiencing this in selective locations than they need to go through the correct channels to fix the problem rather than distributing anti-free-capitalism literature in their stores and whining about getting fired for repeat dress code violations.

Firing pregnant women. I have worked with a total of four managers that have been pregnant and utilized maternity leave. Two of them have moved up in the company one is a district manager and the other is now a regional director. They both have since had second children with no problems from the company. I have worked with at least a dozen supervisors that have had children, and a few now manage their own stores.

Fair prices paid per pound at auction. Here we go. During the last fiscal year SBUX paid on average $1.42 cents per pound at auction. During this time the big four MNCs; Kraft, Sara-lee, Nestlé, and Proctor & Gamble have paid less than $.20 per pound at auction. SBUX has been heavily involved in direct trade and fairly trading practices for a long time. The coffee crisis is not driven by SBUX as you are asserting. We only buy a tiny percentage of world coffees compared to the big four, and as a roaster they have been heavily involved in raising the price per pound by raising crop quality and processing standards.

So as a follow up! What?

BIGJIMBO

Calling me primitive... Shame. Shame!

BurntOutShift

The day we unionize is the day I quit.

The union will do more harm than good in this situation.

Thomas

If it were me, I would feel so blessed to work for Starbucks. I would be like, "Yes massa." Or, "I will get started on that right this moment, sir."

Or you could organize and demand justice.

hahaha unions would not know justice if it bit them in the ass.

If you do not like your job quit, unemployment is less than 4.5% - get another job.

Like the other posters said unions are anti-capitolism.

I have managed union shops - the only thing they do is reward lazy and incompetent workers.
The good works pull the weight for everyone else and you can not pay them what their worth because of the union and you can not fire dead wood because of the union.

Sally

Sorry forgot to post my name to the above post.

Anonymous

Burntoutshift, Thomas and Sally...

if you love saying "Yes, massa"..go chain yourselves like slaves and enjoy being the b*itches of Corporate America.

You are idiots.

Try making that argument in court, otherwise enjoy making $7.50 an hour for the rest of your lives.

So ask yourselves..do you salute the Dollar or the American flag?

Think about it.

otherwise enjoy making $7.50 an hour for the rest of your lives

If you make 7.50 your whole life - you deserve what you get.

Mr. Anonymous, it is obvious that you are one of those dead wood workers we speak about, who need protection from unions.....

I salute the American flag BUT NOT the union lies that spew from your mouth.

Deusx

Dear Richard,

"Why is it that employees who
are full-fledged citizens of the United States are required
to give up their first amendment rights the moment they cross the boss's doorstep?"

Because First Amendment rights are guarantees that the GOVERNMENT won't stop you from speaking. A private citizen or in this case business entity has every right to control what is said or done on their property and/or by people who are under contract with them and are being paid to be so.Not to fucking mention, it's in the hiring materials so you agreed to it when you took the job.

How the heck is it a surprise that if you bite the hand that is feeding you that the hand is going to quit? Was someone shocked that a company would fire an employee for harassing another employee? That is what happened here. I bet that if I came to your work and shouted shit at you, you would expect something to happen to me...hypocrite.

"Where in the U.S. Constitution does it say that all of these rights apply across the board, in any situation that you might encounter as a citizen, *except* in relation to your employer?"

It doesn't because your rights don't apply across the board in any situation that you encounter. I have a right to bear arms, are you going to let me sit in your living room holding a loaded .44 magnum? I bet you refuse to let me even come in. Get an edjumacation and understand our laws before saying more stupid stuff.

"Where in the U.S. Constitution are we informed that the nation was founded on the principle that corporations have more rights than individuals?" Nowhere once again because this situation in no way shape or form did that. You don't have a right to shout whatever you want whenever you want and never have.

Deusx

"It pisses me off that this is going on, regardless of your political affiliations, everyone has the right to CHOOSE whether or not they wish to be a part of the union. Rather than forcing a shadowing progaram similar to Wal-Mart perhaps Starbucks should wonder why their workers want to unionize so badly."

See, here is the mental disconnect that cripples you. You can't get it through your head, it's not even a good sized vocal majority of employees that want a union, its a tiny, tiny percentage. A tiny, tiny percentage that annoy the shit out of everyone else. Wake up, you aren't crusaders. You aren't fighting a fight for us all. You are bitching and moaning to force what YOU want on the rest of us and if we say we don't want it, suddenly we are "stupid", "ignorant" or "uninformed". This is why I despise the left wing as much as the right. If I disagree with one than I'm a morally corrupt. If I disagree with the other than I'm obviously just stupid. The smug arrogance I have seen from the Union "supporters" on this site is staggering.

SAlly

As much as you annoy me DEUSX... I still say BRAVO!!!!!!

BurntOutShift

$7.50?

Try $10.45.

I make more money now than my mother did the entire time I was growing up. I make $3 more per hour than I did as an Assistant Manager for a video game store. Sure, I started out at $7.25 almost two years ago, but now I'm a shift and I'm making good dollars for easy work.

Hard work is well rewarded. The people who want the unions are the lazy fucks in Manhattan that live beyond their means and expect Starbucks to pay for it.

Instead of campaigning for unions, they should put forth their energies into more important causes: government subsidized health insurance (the tax rate for Canada is well worth the benefits you reap), lowered higher-education costs (so that those workers don't have to work at Starbucks forever), and the like.

zepling

Not everyone who wishes to unionize are "lazy." That is a blanket statement that isn't fair to the people who work hard but want protection.

You know what's interesting? On this site, one person could post their position (or defend their position) and they can make it look as though they actually have group consensus...hmmmm....

And yes, I'm talking to you, Ringo...

Tall Man

You know what's interesting? On this site, one person could post their position (or defend their position) and they can make it look as though they actually have group consensus...hmmmm....

And yes, I'm talking to you, Ringo...

Short Man

Yeah, yeah, tall man! I agree!

Fat Man

You know what, Short Man and Tall Man, I think you're right! I think Ringo is a slithery snake!

Skinny Man

I have to say, I totally agree Tall, Short, and Skinny Man. It looks like we now have consensus. Ringo IS annoying.

Deusx

Here is why New York is the hotbed for Union organzing...

" Starbucks: Where Six of One is Not a Half-Dozen of the Other

Employee: Ma'am, can I help you?
Woman: I'd like a half dozen of your chocolate chip cookies.
Employee: We only sell them, like, 1, 2, 3...
Woman to friend: Is she serious?
Friend: She'll take 6.

--Starbucks, Rockefeller Center Concourse"

found at http://www.overheardinnewyork.com/pages/mostpopular.html

SUPERSTARBARISTA

. You can't get it through your head, it's not even a good sized vocal majority of employees that want a union, its a tiny, tiny percentage.

You have absoloutely no evidence that supports this because the people who want unions are too afraid to discuss it for fear of losing their jobs. I worked at Best Buy before Starbucks and a customer came in one time and asked if we're unionized, the girl he asked was kind of a dimwit so she asked another employee who said that she couldn't tell and the customers left. A manager overheard the employees talking about the customers later and noted down a description of them and sent it to Best Buy HQ in Canada. There is nothing wrong with unions, but like everything it should be a democracy. If people don't want it, they don't need it but Starbucks isn't even giving us the opportunity to decide for ourselves. My brother in law worked at Zellers while in high school, they would constantly underpay the employees and "accidently" cut hours of their cheques. On one occasion, they fired a newly-handicapped employee after he got in an accident because he wouldn't be able to stock the top parts of shelves. In a situation like that wouldn't you want someone in your corner to ensure that you aren't going to be screwed over. There is nothing wrong with loving your job, 'nor is there anything wrong with loving Starbucks but get out of this 'better dead than red' mentality. Giving people the chance to vote and decide for themselves what they think is best is what democracy's all about.

Deusx

Superstar,

In my work history I have worked at 12 different stores in three different state across the country over seven years, none of which was ever as a manager, unless you are one of this sillies that count shift supervisors as management. At none of these stores have I EVER seen anyone reprimanded or discouraged from discussing the pros and cons of the union. Of course, these conversations weren't started by union members or people who had an agenda to join the union. They were by partners who had seen the union on the net or read about the issues the wobblies are having in New York.

Among the dozens of partners I have spoken to, none had any interest in joining the union. Many had quit union jobs to work at Starbucks (Kroger, CVS, etc.)and had little interest in dealing with a union again. I have never been reprimanded by management because the topic of conversation was a union. I think it is a perfectly reasonable personal extrapolation to make that if I've spoken to roughly 100 people employed by the Bucks and one or two even went so far as being willing to look into the union; PLUS the general consensus here(and please don't lay the tripe that we are all actually one person, a shill for corporate here to make it look like we don't want a union when secretly the masses are yearning to breath free) plus the fact that out of 7800ish stores there are what 18 unionized stores that it is unlikely that those who want a unionized workplace are even coming CLOSE to being a majority.

As for your vision of a democracy, the workplace is not a democracy nor should it be one. Just because five of six of the employees think the store should close at five on Tuesday doesn't make it a good idea. Democracy only works when the people voting are intelligent enough and/or informed enough to be making good decisions. Who America has as President shows that a Democracy only has as good results as it does brains placing the votes.

PDX Barista

After 13 years with this company I have never heard such inane conversation as I have about this in Starbucks.

Unions have served a purpose at one time. Now, here, with this company, no. There are so many valid points to both sides and each side is "saying the truth".

People shouldn't be fired for becoming pregnant, or getting hurt, this I agree with. People should be fired for not doing their job or meeting expectations of the job. They should be fired for harrassment. They should be fired for not following written policies that they say they will adhere to when they are hired, like dress code. Unions have the reputation of helping people survive in the work place that do not do their job, undermine others, and create an unwelcoming environment. This why IWW is catching so much flack for what they are doing. You want to help the farmers, then unionize there. You want better pay then earn it by working for it.

If you want to move up in a company then learn what you can and move up. I remember when Jim McDermott was hired as a DM and moved up. I started as a barista and moved up to a DM position. SO spare me how it cannot be done. Yes it is hard to do b/c it is called work.

Wages will never be fair to everyone b/c we cannot live within our means and we want more.

If the unionization of stores is b/c of lousy managers/DM/RDOs, then rage against them and use your resources to have them replaced. There are 20 people that want to have their jobs and will do it with the partners in mind first, then the customers, and then the business. This is how we have rolled and will continue to roll as a company. This I beleive.

SUPERSTARBARISTA

PDX Barista,

Thanks for the burst of sanity, I agree with you that a union is only useful in situations that merit it but what I argue is that the corporate power that is Starbucks will not allow us the opportunity to even decide whether or not we need one. Who else but ourselves can be the judge of that? I find it amazing that Americans, well North Americans have such a problem with the word 'union.' Forms of unionization have existed since before the industrial revolution, look at the guilds in ancient Europe. Besides that, corporations and unionized employees, in the modern definition of the world have worked hand-in-hand for decades now. A prime example of this would be in Germany.

DEUSX

As for your democracy in the workplace comment, I cannot even begin to argue about how many levels you're wrong in but I'll begin with your elementary definition of a workplace democracy. A workplace democracy is a system in which employees are alloted ownership and some say in how a company is run. For instance, if you own a shoe factory, employees meet every so often and discuss issues relating to their work (safety, modes of production, methods, etc.), supervisors take this discussion into account when making decisions. That is true workers democracy, the employees coming together to decide what is best for them and the company. Not simple selfish desires that the store be closed on a certain day. Read up on the Rawlsian Justice and Workplace Republicanism.

As for your comment about your comment about how workplaces shouldn't be democracies, you are competely wrong. Corporations that institute a workplace democracy have historically been much more successful than authoritatian-styles ones and I would argue that Starbucks leans closer towards a workplace democracy than the hierarchical regimes that dominate most corporations. If you look at key moments in corporate history, you will learn that workplace democracy is actually the most successful form of managment. The Japanese Miracle is a prime example of this, the Japanese economy has out-performed the US economic engine since WWII and the vast majority of them instituted a workplace democracy, is it successful? I can all but guarantee that over 60% of you drive Japanese cars. To a smaller extent, Fordism displays a similar sense of workplace democracy. Places that institute a true workplace democracy not only create more revenue, but they create better products and also lead to happier employees. You cannot base an argument around a flawed analysis of what a basic democracy is, it is not the rule of the majority but in modern times, has evolved into the power of many in the hands of one. All I'm saying is that there needs to be someone that keeps an eye on that one person to make sure that they're not screwing us over!

Japan - work place democracy, (rolling over with laughter) have you ever been to Japan or spoken to a Japanese worker, or do these comments just come out of the union blow holes?

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