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Sisters and Brothers,

Starbucks workers need your help to continue organizing a union with the Industrial Workers of the World. With members at seven Starbucks locations and growing, the IWW baristas are proving that workers at large multinational retailers can gain an independent voice on the job. However, we can’t do it alone. The coffee giant is waging a fierce union-busting campaign to defeat our organization and we need your financial support to continue fighting for justice at work and in society.

A SWU Success Story

Sarah Bender joined the IWW Starbucks Workers Union after two months on the job at the world’s largest coffee chain. Like each and every Starbucks barista in the United States, Sarah was a part-time employee. With her schedule fluctuating unpredictably between 11 and 35 hours of work per week, Sarah could not count on a steady paycheck to pay the bills. Her irregular
schedule meant that she often had to arrive at work at 5:00 a.m. after a long commute only to be sent home just four hours later. Sarah’s precarious work life soon caused serious sleep problems. To get the justice she deserved at work, Sarah decided to go union with the SWU. Shamefully, Starbucks retaliated against her for exercising her fundamental right to organize.

“I felt like I was walking on eggshells, always afraid that if I came a minute late, or my register was off by pennies, I would face termination. Starbucks
certainly created an atmosphere of fear around the whole union idea.”

Soon after co-workers overheard the store manager complain that Sarah was informing people about the union, Starbucks fired her. The SWU paid Sarah an
organizing stipend, on which she assembled a coalition opposing Starbucks’ unfair labor practices. She led several picket lines, and successfully attracted local and national media attention. Meanwhile, the SWU filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board.

Sarah and another employee won their jobs back, won a back pay award, and the NLRB ordered Starbucks to cease and desist from its threats, bribes, and
surveillance aimed at driving out the SWU. Together Sarah and the SWU have created more space to organize for every barista.

On May 17, 2004, workers at a midtown Manhattan Starbucks announced the founding of the first union in the United States at the company. In less than two and a half years of organizing, the Starbucks Workers Union has won wage increases of almost 25% in New York City. Although the SWU’s wage gains are significant, Starbucks’ entry-level wage of $8.75/hour is still far from a living wage in NYC. Union workers have also won schedules that are more consistent though Starbucks has yet to guarantee a minimum number of work hours
each week. This summer the organizing drive expanded to Chicago where Starbucks workers have already chalked up important victories in compensation and safety.

Most importantly, as Isis Saenz explains, “Before I joined the Starbucks Workers Union, I used to keep my head down and do anything management told me. Now, I demand respect – as a worker and as a human being.” Sadly, soon after uttering these words Isis was illegally fired for participating in a union protest. She’s now fighting for her job back.

The SWU has given its members a new sense of dignity, a sense that they deserve respect. The SWU is poised to continue its growth through its contacts with baristas around the country. Unfortunately, Starbucks’ paychecks are so small that there’s little room for union dues. Currently, dues are $6 per month. As a result, the SWU depends on donations from people like you in order to succeed in building a union.

Here’s how your donation will be spent:

-Stipends for organizers – All SWU organizers are currently unpaid. To expand the campaign, we need to pay stipends to our otherwise unpaid organizers so
they can take days off work to organize.
-Campaign literature and other materials to accomodate the burgeoning interest in the campaign around the world
-Strike Fund
-Office space

To make your contribution log on to http://starbucksunion.org/contribute. Thank you in advance for your solidarity and generosity. Together we can build a society where every worker has a voice and can live with dignity.

In Solidarity,

Fundraising Committee
IWW Starbucks Workers Union

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