This may not be a politically popular position for me to stake out, but I'm just not sure that I'm buying into this:
A group of Starbucks employees in Logan Square have joined a union, the first group outside of New York, despite the coffee company’s refusal to recognize organized labor.
The workers at 2759 W. Logan Blvd. announced Tuesday night that they were affiliating with the Industrial Workers of the World Starbucks Workers Union in an effort to increase hourly pay, have a guaranteed number of work hours per week and to reinstate employees who they claim were fired for union organizing activity. Union representatives declined to disclose membership numbers...
Union members are demanding a pay increase to $10 an hour for entry-level workers from the current $7.50 an hour in addition to guaranteed minimum hours and healthcare benefits.
“There are no minimum hours and that’s the problem,” Mr. Tessone said. “Our schedule is at the mercy of the manager.”
With regards the healthcare, union officials claim Starbucks only covers 42% of its workers, less than the 47% that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is often criticized for.
While I understand that they may think that their timing is right, I think that some of their fundamentals are wrong. My reservations are based upon two factors: First, I believe that the current wages and benefits seem pretty darn good for the job requirements. Second, the numerous people that I have talked with who work or have worked at Starbucks, (including a former district office staffer of mine) all were very happy with the compensation structure and treatment of employees. In fact, Starbucks is consistently ranked as one of the top corporations when it comes to employee satisfaction.
As far as schedule and hours are concerned - welcome to the real world. Union or no union, seniority drives better scheduling and assignments. If people want to push for a living wage across the board, then they should pursue that struggle. But I think that these folks are going to have a hard time trying to find sympathy for their cause, (or loyalty to the store when another is likely only a couple of blocks away.) Then again, stranger things have happened, especially in this City of late.
To my friends at my local Starbucks, don't get me wrong, I love you guys. But this is bigger than my daily caffeine fix. Just please tell me that somebody in City Council isn't going to try to legislate this.