A first unionized Starbucks in Quebec

starbucks_syndicatQuébec, 14 July 2009 - Monday morning, the union of workers of Starbucks, affiliated with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), filed an application for union certification from the Commision of labor relations, to represent the employees of Starbucks Germain-des-Prés, in the district Ste-Foy, in Quebec. Recent changes to the schedule management system and the new employer's requirements as to the availability employees finally convinced some fifteen baristas, mainly students, to come together to defend their interests against an inflexible and arrogant employer.

« Starbucks, it's a little MacDonald's coffee. The jobs are precarious and low-paid, but so far, at least working hours were flexible, which suited for students who work there ", comments Simon Gosselin, union member. "The clause which will require a minimum of 24 hours per week for shift supervisors and 16h for baristas is the workhorse of our union. This is an abrupt change that will ensure that 6 current shift supervisors will be demoted, which implies for them a pay cut 10% and the loss of their current benefits ", he continues.

Starbucks has since 2004 the target of an organizing campaign led by the Industrial Workers of the World, an alternative union operates primarily in the United States, but also in Canada, Britain and Australia. "Starbucks claims to be a socially responsible employer, friendly communities and contributing to economic development ", says Jean Mathieu, spokesman IWW. "With its precarious and poorly paid and frequent snags minimum labor standards, Starbucks tends to impoverish communities and take working conditions down ", He adds.

Indeed, despite the company's claims, coffee multinational was 17 Once found guilty of violations of trade union rights of its workers to the only city of Minneapolis, and was condemned for its anti-union practices by the National Labor Relations Board, a US government agency. Last December in New York, the company was found guilty of 30 heads of similar charges against her. And several other causes of gender are pending.

"We do not intend to be intimidated by the employer, and if he wants to play hard, he will find to talk to ", says Jean Mathieu. "But Starbucks now has the opportunity to demonstrate that its social pretensions are anything but a hollow shell. The ball is now in their court, "he concluded.

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  1. […] que Starbucks, employees had to fight in the UK, the United States and Quebec for recognition of basic rights. In France, CFDT section, created 2012, […]

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