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Union Scores Big Victory Against Starbucks at Labor Board

Union Scores Big Victory Against Starbucks at Labor Board

Coffee Giant Must Rehire Fired Baristas and Rescind National Anti-Union

New York, NY- The IWW Starbucks Workers Union won a watershed victory
yesterday in the first National Labor Relations Board conflict over
unfair labor practices between the world's largest coffee chain and the
baristas who work there. Faced with the prospect of having its
widespread union-busting campaign exposed in a public hearing, Starbucks
agreed to remedy all of the myriad violations committed against workers
who have organized a union.

"We hope Starbucks' decision to settle reflects a strategic assessment
to cease what has been a relentless anti-union campaign and accept the
right of baristas to gain a voice on the job by joining together," said
Laura De Anda, one of the union members that prevailed in the
proceedings. "The IWW Starbucks Workers Union is here to stay."

Some highlights of the National Labor Relations Board settlement with
Starbucks include:

· The reinstatement of IWW members, Sarah Bender and Anthony Polanco,
who had been discharged for their union activity in order to discourage
other workers from making a free and fair choice about whether to join
the union.

· The invalidation of Starbucks' national policy that prohibited the
sharing of written union information and joining the union on company

· The invalidation of Starbucks' national no-pin policy. Workers had
been banned from wearing IWW pins and had been sent home from work
without pay for refusing to take them off.

· An agreement by Starbucks to end threats, bribes, and surveillance of
union members.

· What would have been a hefty monetary penalty against Starbucks was
reduced because the IWW assisted its discharged members in obtaining
other employment which mitigates damages under the National Labor
Relations Act. Still, the company will pay out almost $2,000.

· And much more. To view the settlement agreement go
here.The union was represented by its General Counsel, Stuart Lichten, of
Schwartz, Lichten & Bright. The NLRB attorneys on the case were Audrey
Eveillard and Burt Pearlstone.

"I'm pleased that Starbucks' blatant violation of the law has been
remedied in my case," said reinstated barista Sarah Bender. "And now I'm
just eager to get back to work to continue the organizing drive and
chalk up more gains in wages and security of hours with the Starbucks
Workers Union."

"All I have to say to Starbucks is: I'm back," added discharged barista,
Anthony Polanco.

"The long-standing right to proudly display our union pins has finally
been reaffirmed," said Pete Montalbano, an IWW barista whose
disciplinary record was expunged by the settlement and who received
compensation for being wrongfully kicked out of work. "This is an
important visual expression of solidarity for co-workers and customers

The NLRB complaint against Starbucks which resulted in this settlement
outlined a widespread anti-union effort that extended to upper level
management, including a Starbucks Senior Vice President. Fifteen
Starbucks employees were named in the complaint.

The IWW Starbucks Workers Union is a grassroots organization of
Starbucks employees united to improve life on and off the job. The
campaign to organize Starbucks is based on the solidarity unionism
model, unionism in its purest form: a group of workers directly
pressuring a corporation without getting entangled in the cumbersome
government certification process or the alienating business-union
approach. Since its founding in May 2004, the Starbucks Workers Union
has chalked up three wage increases, more secure work hours, and some
modest safety improvements in the area of repetitive strain injuries.
Union members also work together to remedy individual grievances such as
fixing errors in pay and eliminating exhausting scheduling demands.

"Though we would have preferred to vindicate our rights in an open
hearing, winning a remedy for all of our well-documented charges against
Starbucks is certainly gratifying," said Daniel Gross, an IWW organizer
and Starbucks barista whose 'final warning before termination' was
nullified by the settlement. "It's critical to point out that while the
conclusion of this battle took place in a legal setting, the fight was
won in the streets and through actions on the job. The union couldn't
have done it without grassroots solidarity from around the world from
places as far off as Edinburgh, Scotland and Auckland, New Zealand to
places as close to home as New Brunswick, New Jersey and the streets of

The Labor Board's standard practice is to settle complaints without the
charged party, Starbucks in this case, admitting guilt. Because of this,
as a symbolic matter, the IWW refused to sign on to the settlement. The
IWW believes there was ample evidence to conclude that Starbucks was
guilty of breaking the law. Nonetheless, the settlement stands as is
with the all of the union's charges resolved.

Full Text of U.S. Gov't Settlement with Starbucks

Workers Independent News Coverage