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Starbucks Barista Fired for Union Organizing

New York - On May 28th at 6:30pm Starbucks workers are demonstrating their right to join the Industrial Workers of the World - IU/660, also known as the Retail Workers' Union. Workers of Starbucks at 2nd Ave and 9th Street are demanding an immediate stop to all anti-union activity, reinstatement of Sarah Bender and Alex Diaz, affirmation of our right to organize, a living wage for all employees, guaranteed hours with the option for full-time status, consistent scheduling, an end to under-staffing, the right to organize, and respect from our bosses.

"In New York City we start at $8.25 an hour and are lucky to receive anything above 20 hours a week. Starbucks profits off our backs by depending on a low labor costs in the stores and from out sourced labor. They are the Wal-Mart of the coffee industry." Claimed Laura Deanda of 2nd and 9th.

Starbucks Barista Sarah Bender of 17th street and 1st Ave was fired unjustly for her legally protected union activity. Store manager Noura Glenn fired Sarah Bender, a Starbucks barista and active IWW union member on Tuesday May 24th. Starbucks Workers at 2nd Ave and 9th Street are taking action in response to illegal anti-union activity by the company. Starbucks management was aware of Bender's union involvement since early November 2004.

"They reduced my schedule to 15 hours a week and I was prohibited from covering shifts at other stores. I felt as if Noura was pressuring me to quit. They made my job a living hell." Stated Sarah Bender.

Starbucks store manager Noura Glenn, assistant manager Omari Smith and ex district manager Candace Nunally have illegally interrogated workers at the 17th and 1st location about Bender's involvement with a union, and even threatened to halt the promotion of one worker if they were also involved with a union. Management states that cash mishandling of $6 was the reason for the "separation" of Sarah.

In early November when Starbucks management became aware of Bendes's union involvement, they wrote twice in one day for two different violations. These were the first write-ups she ever had. Manager Noura Glenn was also overheard by a worker at 17th and 1st. for discussing her wish to fire Sarah Bender for her involvement with the union  during a phone conversation one week prior to her termination.

The IWW Starbucks Workers Union calls on the company to cease its fierce anti-union activities, reinstate workers fired for union membership and enter into a neutrality agreement. Starbucks should implement a zero-tolerance policy for violating the rights of cafe workers, roasting plant employees, or coffee farmers.

Industrial Workers of the World I.U. 660 is the union for retail workers.

Starbucks is the world's #1 specialty coffee retailer. They operate and license more than 8,500 coffee shops and employ over 96,700 workers in more than 30 countries. In 2004 revenues surpassed $5.2 billion and profits were approximately $400 million.