The Starbucks organizing wave is here
Solidarity with all the workers who have had no choice but to keep working in unsafe conditions during the pandemic.
Buckle up, folks! We have a lot of worker news this week.
☕ Wake up and smell the power
One Starbucks in Minneapolis at 47th and Cedar Ave and one in St. Paul on Snelling Avenue are demanding union recognition and have petitioned the National Labor Relations Board for an election.
From a press release this morning:
“We as workers at Starbucks invest our time, well-being and safety into a company that has shown repeated apathy towards its employees. We work in the midst of an ongoing global health crisis, and see little to no support…We want to see Starbucks become a healthier and more equitable workplace… We are organizing a union at the Snelling and Stanford store in Saint Paul to improve our workplace for ourselves, for members of our community, and for Starbucks as a whole.”
Starbucks has been going heavy on the union busting tactics. This week, they just fired seven baristas for organizing in Memphis.
As a former Starbucks barista, this is so exciting to me! Stay tuned for more!
✏️ 🗳️ St. Paul educators union authorized a strike vote
On Thursday, the executive board of the St. Paul Federation of Educators voted unanimously to authorize a strike vote for next Thursday.
Solidarity with members of SPFE and MFT Local 59 who are hosting a march tomorrow.
⚠️ Will our state government hold Amazon accountable?
On Tuesday, Rep. Emma Greenman introduced a bill that would update safety standards for warehouse workers requiring transparency around quotas. The bill passed through the House Labor, Industry, Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Committee.
Many workers testified about Amazon’s work culture of fear and paranoia around productivity and retaliation. The NELP report released in December has details on injury rates and exploitative conditions.
Listen to Amazon workers at this press conference held by the Awood Center.
“Amazon has all this information,” said Debbie Berkowitz, former chief of staff and senior policy adviser at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA.) “They know exactly the risk that workers are facing. They know exactly how many are getting injured and sick. And it’s stunning that they’re deciding to withhold that from their workers.”
💰 Frontline worker payments bill is through its first committee
On Wednesday, essential workers continued to give testimony about their experiences working during the pandemic. Rep. Cedrick Frazier introduced a bill that the House Workforce and Business Development Finance and Policy Committee passed that would give $1 billion to essential workers.
👀 Watch: A roundtable of essential workers from February 5.
One-time payments are not enough but they’re a step in the right direction. Workers don’t just need better pay, they also need better working conditions, and their employers must be held accountable for violations. They’ve expressed a need for urgency, but will the slow crawl of bureaucracy deliver our community members that we’ve exalted as heroes?
📈 📉1.78 Trillion: The amount of money taken from the working class in 2017. For In These Times, Eric Dirnbach (@EricDirnbach) and Colleen Boyle (@onaturtlesback) calculated how much money workers have been deprived of due to a rate of compensation disproportionate with productivity.
“What we don’t talk about much about being a Black child is that you don’t have to understand racism to understand fear, and I was scared to my bones. I knew then what hate looked like, even if I didn’t have the words for it.”
This week, youth across the Twin Cities have been calling for more protection of young Black lives after fatal shootings of young Black men in the community, including the Minneapolis Police Department officer Mark Hanneman who shot and killed Amir Locke.
🛠️ 🔊 Listen: This KFAI MinneCulture segment with writer, carpenter, and activist Josina Manu Maltzman is awesome. They’re interviewed on their experience being a carpenter and a queer, nonbinary woman in the building trades, and how they started a career in writing.
“I deal with a ton of misogyny in the trades, but I’ve also had to face my own racism and my own class privileges as I learn and grow into carpentry. I felt like that was as much a part of the story and an important lens because the workplace is where all these power structures are fighting each other.”
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We are not machines. We are each other’s harvest.