Appleton: 3rd Starbucks store in Wisconsin files moves to unionize
Appleton, WI – On April 8, Starbucks workers in Appleton, Wisconsin filed officially for union representation. They will be joining workers from more than 100 Starbucks locations across the country that are taking up the fight against corporate tyranny by exercising their right to collective bargaining, including three in Wisconsin.
Among many of the reasons that workers have today to form a union, the baristas at the Appleton Starbucks have cited poor management-employee relations. According to one Starbucks worker, Fizz McDermott, “Management lacks empathy and communication which is a big reason we’re unionizing. They didn’t let someone go home after their grandfather died. We have had to go through our district manager every single time there’s been a personal issue.”
Voting takes place in two or three months; most of the workers are leaning yes or undecided. “A lot of people didn’t even know what unions were, so we put a lot of energy into educating people,” reports McDermott. “It’s been easier than expected though. We're holding weekly meetings to stay united and dispel anti-union propaganda. We might host a rally before our election date or if Starbucks starts engaging in unfair labor practices.”
Other employees who wish to remain unnamed due to possible company reprisal added, “I’d also like to mention that the union drive brought my coworkers and I together and experiencing that solidarity was a beautiful thing despite the fear of retaliation from management.”
“There has been a direct correlation between the decline of union membership and the growth of wealth inequality within this country. Unions protect workers and by unionizing we are taking back real power in our workplace. We are reminding our management that we can succeed without them but that they cannot function without us,” said another.
In an official letter to the CEO of Starbucks Howard Schultz from the workers at the Northland Avenue location in Appleton they said: “Since last year we have dealt with unsafe working conditions, dismissive attitudes from management, and a work-life balance incompatible with human happiness and wellbeing. Throughout all of this, we are drastically undercompensated for our labor. We find it disquieting that you claim we are your equals while treating us in a way that can only be described as less than.”
This bold and honest statement from these brave workers speaks to the strengthening resolve of the working class in the U.S. today. With each new victory over corporate greed the working class becomes more ready to stand up to the powerful monopoly capitalists that are oppressing them. The future of the union movement and the whole working class shines bright.