Tell Starbucks: Stop union-busting closures
From the Stand: https://www.thestand.org/2022/11/tell-starbucks-stop-union-busting-closures/
SEATTLE (Nov. 29, 2022) — On Monday, Nov. 21, Starbucks announced it would close another store in Seattle. Again, it just happens to be one of the unionized locations, Broadway & Denny, which was the first store in the city to form a union with Starbucks Workers United in a unanimous vote back on March 22.
Rather than negotiate a first contract in good faith with its unionized workers, Starbucks continues to bust the unions by retaliating against union supporters and closing unionized stores. This is illegal, but Starbucks continues to do it — despite complaints from federal authorities and members of Congress — because U.S. labor laws and the penalties for breaking them are so weak that the company has deliberately chosen to commit illegal acts to discourage further organizing.
In fact, in the city where the company was born, they are stepping up the union-busting. With the latest store closure in Seattle, that will make four unionized stores that have been shuttered. The Broadway and Denny store is slated to be closed on Dec. 9, the one-year anniversary of the first Starbucks Workers United union election win in Buffalo, N.Y.
TAKE A STAND — Starbucks Workers United Seattle is urging all to show their support for Starbucks workers by taking one or more of the following actions:
— Send a direct message to Starbucks District Manager Taylor Pringle and his boss Regional Director Nica Tovey and tell them what you think of their actions in your own words.
— Sign the pledge: “No contract, no coffee!”
— Contribute to the hardship fund. A GoFundMe hardship fund has been set up to help Starbucks workers who have been retaliated against or had their store closed.
As Starbucks continues to close stores, company executive are citing “safety concerns” and their desire to protect employees as the reason. Many in the commercial media are buying it and simply parroting the company line.
But with the latest store closure announcement, The Stranger’s Conor Kelley decided to actually get up from his desk and go talk to some of the Starbucks workers. He found that the workers tell a much different story than management:
“They say the closures all followed a similar pattern, one designed to bust up union activity rather than to address safety. Now, workers worry about following the company’s safety directives for fear of having their own stores closed.”
In the face of Starbucks’ illegal retaliation, its employees have continued to join together in unions. The current wave of union organizing at Starbucks began in December 2021 with a store in Buffalo, N.Y. There are now 264 Starbucks stores in 36 states have won union elections, including 17 in Washington state. Just 59 stores have lost an election. Dozens more Starbucks stores have filed for a union and are awaiting NLRB-supervised elections, including three more in Washington.
Tacoma Art Museum opts for union busting
From the Stand: https://www.thestand.org/2022/11/tacoma-art-museum-opts-for-union-busting/
The following is from Tacoma Art Museum Workers United:
TACOMA (Nov. 23, 2022) — In a rushed vote, the Tacoma Art Museum Board refused to voluntarily recognize our union, TAM Workers United (TAMWU), which has more than 80 percent support among our coworkers.
A statement released by the museum illustrates a deliberate mischaracterization of what voluntary recognition of a union entails, despite our efforts to educate the board in person and in writing since going public with our union drive. The statement also bears the marks of the outside counsel the museum recently hired, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, one of the largest “union avoidance” firms in the country.
“Voluntary recognition is a legal pathway to unionization, categorizing it as anything else is simply misinformation and union busting,” said Eden Redmond, an institutional giving manager at TAM. “It’s disappointing, but we have great support from unions across Washington, the community in Tacoma, and workers at TAM, and we’re ready to keep going.”
“Again the board is making institutional decisions without the input from community or staff, showing they would rather rush to anti-union tactics than collaborate and hear from museum workers,” said Joe Liwag, a visitor services representative at TAM.
“This vote is just another example as to why the museum needs to be unionized,” said Carrie Morton, a visitor services representative. “Decisions are made at TAM with little transparency and with little regard for the stakeholders or our community. The problems at TAM are systemic and an overwhelming majority of workers agree that the solution is a strong union.”
TAKE A STAND — Show your solidarity by signing the community support letter. Also, be sure to follow TAM Workers United on Instagram and Twitter for the latest updates.
The museum’s willful ignorance about what, exactly, unions do has been a source of concern for us since the start of our union drive, and was again present in the museum’s statement. Our good-faith attempts to educate the Board or at least delay a vote until they could become informed were in vain.
“The Board described the union’s grievances as the result of bad behaviors and communication, and therefore outside the scope of what unions do,” Redmond said. “But that’s exactly what unions do- they make structural changes that secure workers rights no matter who is in power. We wanted to talk about a system, and they changed the subject to talk about individuals. This mischaracterizes our work and is a blatant union-busting tactic.”
Stephen Rue, lead preparator at TAM added, “Given that Thursday’s meeting was the first time the TAM Board has met since the unionization effort was made public one month ago, it is clear their denial was made in haste without fully understanding the legal process of voluntary recognition nor all the issues at stake.”
We understand that unions are not granted by employers, though they can be. They are voted into existence by workers themselves. If we need to create our union that way, without the good will of our employer, we are determined to do it.
“TAMWU will continue forward, united as workers spanning all departments of our museum, to bring to the community the message that denial of voluntary recognition is unacceptable and unionization is key to fixing the systematic wrongs that the TAM Board is now hiding behind as reason for their refusal.”