With IWW Help Starbucks Workers In Massachusetts Win A Million Dollar Concession- 01/25/13
By Doug Cunningham
[Erik Forman]: “There’s a new fighting spirit in the working class in the low-wage service sector. Five years ago this kind of thing wouldn’t have happened. Nobody would have thought, oh they’re gonna take away twenty percent of our pay, lets organize a statewide strike. Now workers are and they’re reaching out. So the question is, is the labor movement going to be there to back them when workers start fighting back?”
Industrial Workers of The World (IWW) organizer Erik Forman. Using direct action organizing Starbucks workers in Massachusetts have won a victory that will get them more than a million dollars annually in raises and bonuses. Starbucks shift supervisors reached out to the IWW for help when they faced a 20 percent pay cut due to Starbucks took away their tips in the wake of a Massachusetts legal decision. The workers organized using an online petition and a possible strike. Starbucks conceded – agreeing to pay $350 bonuses and increase supervisor wages from $11 to $13.59 an hour to compensate them for the loss of tips. Forman says what low-wage workers are doing at Starbucks, Wal-Mart, fast food restaurants and other low-wage service jobs could be the salvation of the labor movement.
[Erik Forman2]: “I think this is the shape of things to come. Workers deciding to take action on the job, partnering with labor organizations, fighting the battles and unions incrementally rebuilding through what we call in the IWW solidarity unionism. We need to look to models which don’t depend on the law. They don’t depend on favorable political or legal environment and instead rely on the threat or the actual execution of direct action that hits bosses where it hurts. Capital is destroying the legal framework that unions have existed (under) in the U.S. since 1935 – in the public and private sector. But that doesn’t mean the end of workers struggle. In fact it probably means we’re about to se the beginning of an entirely new wave of rebellion. I think it’s important for us as people who’ve had experience organizing to be there for workers who are starting to fight back.”