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Starbucks Settles Case with Barista Over Anti-Union Termination

Starbucks Settles Case with Barista Over Anti-Union

Starbucks has agreed to
reinstate Chicago barista Gloria Sykes and pay her a
confidential amount to settle charges filed with the
National Labor Relations Board earlier this year.
Starbucks fired Sykes after she told her store manager
that employees would reach out to the IWW Starbucks
Workers Union
(SWU) if management did not address age
discrimination and work schedule issues. The
Starbucks manager responded in clear violation of
federal law that any talk of the Union was prohibited
and would result in termination. Ms. Sykes, 55, was
undeterred and subsequently did join the SWU.

"This settlement is a victory for every barista, older
and younger, who are fed up with the lack of
guaranteed work hours at Starbucks," said Ms. Sykes.
"We have a right to demand a secure work schedule with
a union and this settlement proves it." Ms. Sykes was
led to speak out at work after incidents of age
discrimination including being told that "even 16 year
olds" could learn to make coffee drinks quicker than
her. Starbucks denied wrongdoing in the out-of-court
settlement.Starbucks, with its battered share price, still faces
significant legal scrutiny. On July 9th, the coffee
giant is set to go on trial for extensive anti-union
violations in New York City. In 2006, Starbucks
entered a lengthy settlement agreement with the
federal government in the first labor case brought by
baristas in the United States.

"The myth of a socially responsible Starbucks is
unraveling every day," said Joe Tessone, an SWU member
and barista at a Chicago Starbucks. "Given the
overwhelming evidence of its illegal anti-union
campaign, Starbucks should stop insulting the American
people by claiming it respects the right to organize."

Starbucks workers can earn a starting wage as low as
$6 or $7 an hour and are prohibited from obtaining
full-time status. While the company boasts of its
health care offering, Starbucks actually insures a
lower percentage of its workforce than Wal-Mart, a
company notorious for its unaffordable health care
package. Due to understaffing, baristas are often
forced to work at an unsafe speed exposing themselves
to the risk of repetitive stress injuries and burns.

The IWW Starbucks Workers Union is an organization of
employees at the world's largest coffee chain united
for dignity on the job and in society. Since the
founding of the union in 2004, Starbucks workers have
joined at multiple stores in several U.S. states.
Pressure from the union against Starbucks has resulted
in wage increases and the remedy of a diverse array of
grievances from pregnancy discrimination to health and
safety violations.