June 21, 2006

New York Press ( http://www.nypress.com/19/25/informationagent/agent4.cfm)

Last Friday at 2:45 p.m., Starbucks employees working at the 135 E. 57th St. store (between Lexington and Park Ave.) made public their Industrial Workers of the World union membership and presented a list of demands to management to improve working conditions.

The Starbucks Workers Union members “marched into the store to announce their membership in the IWW,” said Daniel Gross, Starbucks Workers Union organizer and Starbucks barista. Gross said the three main demands are: a living wage, secure hours of 30 or more per week and an end to the anti-union campaign. While the demands were being presented, customers were not being served.

Patrice Britton, store manager, asked the employees to go back to work. Veronica Park, the district manager, did not take the list of demands from the employees, according to one union worker who asked to remain anonymous. Britton would not comment about the event, citing corporate policy that all press inquiries be directed to public relations.

On March 7, Starbucks and the IWW signed a settlement agreement to grant them the ability to wear union pins while working, which included the reinstatement of union workers and rescinded warnings issued to workers, among other union protections. The settlement did not acknowledge any guilt that Starbucks may have violated provisions of the National Labor Relations Act. “We have dues paying members operating publicly at five New York City stores,” said Gross. Starbucks was contacted for comment about the IWW event on Friday. “We are looking into it,” said a Starbucks spokesperson.

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