IWW Demonstraters at NYC Starbucks (NY TimesPhoto)
The NY Times has the story:
The dramatic battles of the American labor movement were often fought in hazardous settings like the coal fields of Kentucky or the textile mills of Massachusetts.
And so it was that a crowd of about 50 people wrapped in scarves and bandannas against the cold gathered Monday morning outside a Starbucks at the corner of Fifth Avenue and East 33rd Street.
As their breath steamed the air, they chanted and sang. They carried long banners bearing the logo of the Industrial Workers of the World, a union founded in 1905 that has been trying to organize Starbucks workers since 2004.
Red and black anarchist flags waved in the wind, and one woman held aloft a placard depicting a pouncing black cat toppling what appeared to be a venti latte cup emblazoned with a dollar sign.
Typical New York Times. The labor struggle is supposed to be stuck in the 19th century and resemble Matewan or Hazard or Lawrence. Give me a break. This is 2008 and it’s time to organize and unionize the global latte retailer. And don’t remind me, please, that the Wobblies have been trying to organize Starbucks in NYC since 2004 and haven’t succeeded yet. Please. Enough is enough. It’s time.
Folks, can we help the Wobblies organize Starbucks? Of course we can. You’re smart. You drink coffee. You probably use their bathrooms and their hot spots. And you know it’s the right thing to do to help a union organize this industry. Let’s put our heads together and find ways to help. Put your ideas in the comments.
Of course, one of the things we might do immediately is stop swilling Starbucks in solidarity until they recognize this union. There are still plenty of non-globalized caffeine emporiums (emporia?) in Gotham and elsewhere in the world where we can download caffeine. These coffee purveyors have resisted the uniformity and standardized high priced Starbucks invasion. Instead of Starbucks we can go instead coffee places that are fair trade, organic, locally owned, non Global. Wouldn’t that be better? Wouldn’t we feel better about that? Wouldn’t we be able to snear at Starbucks consumers for being tools of oppression? Scabs? And so not hip?
I’m sure there are other things we can do. And folks like me, who are on a de facto Starbucks boycott already and have been for some time, probably need to do something to make our feelings felt. That’s what the comments are for: ideas to support this strike.
Organize Starbucks Already! Basta Ya!
Updated (5:24 pm ET): I put this up at orange. Some of the comments are astonishingly anti union. This is a surprise and a disappointment to me. To me, it’s an article of faith and reason that organized workers are in a much better position than unorganized workers. I thought that was beyond debate, but apparently, it’s not. Even on allegedly progressive/democratic blogs. For shame.