MoA Starbucks Union Goes Public

Members of a recently formed Starbucks union staged a small press conference today outside the Mall of America and issued several management-directed demands, including a living wage, an end to under-staffing, and guaranteed work hours.

Five baristas, each wearing a red-and-black Industrial Workers of the World pin, stood before TV cameras and took turns reading from printouts. Jake Bell spoke first, insisting on a more generous severance package for soon-to-be laid off employees. (Starbucks recently announced it will be closing 600 stores nationwide, including 27 in Minnesota.)

"Many workers at closing stores have served Starbucks loyally for years," he said. "They deserve more than a 30-day notice before layoff, two weeks pay, and the vague possibility of a transfer."

The MoA-based coffee shop is the latest Starbucks to affiliate with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). Since 2004, the storied union has been organizing Starbucks shops throughout the country, much to the chagrin of company brass. Last year, the National Labor Relations Board accused the Seattle-based chain of union-busting.

"Starbucks is waging a vicious anti-union campaign across the country," said Erik Forman, who claims his firing earlier this month was due to his association with the IWW. "We need to put a stop to this in Minnesota!"

For an overview of the unionizing effort, go to our story here.

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