Lithographers to Starbucks: "The Whole World Is Watching, and You Are Being Judged."

One of the best parts of watching a unlikely group try to unionize--in this case, Starbucks baristas--are the expressions of solidarity from their "brothers and sisters" in other unions. To wit: The Amalgamated Lithographers of America Local One from New York City, have announced a boycott of Starbucks. "Oh God," evil fat cats at corporate headquarters must have said, "anything but a boycott by the lithographers! We're ruined!"

Starbucks recently fired barista Daniel Gross, who had been organizing pro-union events and demonstrations at Starbucks locations. The lithographers, steadfast friends of the underdog, sprang into action, urging the company "to reconsider the shamelessly greedy and patently anti-union attacks against these workers, and we would encourage you to remain mindful that nothing happens in a vacuum anymore - the whole world is watching, and you are being judged."

Starbucks workers, nearly all of whom are part-time, get health benefits (including dental), paid vacation and sick leave, stock options, a 401(k) plan, dometic partner benefits, and a pound of coffee every week. They're called "partners," and they earn significantly more than minimum wage, with average annual pay of hourly employees at $35,294 last year. Observe the despondent wage slave depicted at right.

"Poisoning the well from which everyone drinks is no way to ensure a supply of water," the valiant lithographers admonish. To which Starbucks might reply: No problem. If the well gets poisoned, everyone can drink caramel macchiatos instead.

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    with average annual pay of hourly employees at $35,294 last year

    That number sounds rather high if we're just talking wages. Does that include health benefits, 401(k), etc.?

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    Observe the despondent wage slave depicted at right.

    I'd like a double-shot of that. [/coffee innuendo]

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    Um, yeah, I'm going to take the word of the people who actually work there over that of a blog writer with an ideological aversion to unions when it comes to questions about compensation and working conditions in Starbucks.

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    Joe? As in Joe Stalin? How the hell are you, you old Commie bastard?

  • ||

    To be fair, joe, a pound of coffee a week at Starbucks prices is a hell of a lot of money. Add some milk to it and give it a pseudo-Italian name and we're talking 6 digit compensation!

    :)

  • ||

    Hmm... a tough call for Joe. Give up the morning grande, half-caff, soy, extra foam hazelnut latte OR stand in solidarity with the lithographers? Just kidding, Joe. You strike me as an organic green tea guy.

  • Radley Balko||

    Joe,

    Have you actually heard much complaining from Starbucks employees about working conditions? Setting aside the fact that even people at great jobs tend to complain about them, I honestly haven't.

    I've known lots of Starbucks employees and, believe it or not, they seem pretty happy. Even with no union!

    The only complaints I've heard come from union organizers, and their cheif complaint seems to be that Starbucks isn't unionized.

    Oh, and that the company nefariously gives free pastries to its workers, which I guess makes them fat:

    http://www.theagitator.com/archives/026702.php

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    isnt starbucks ranked consistantly in the top 100 places to work for?

  • ||

    Is there anything wrong with individuals working for Starbucks using their freedom of association to form a union? I mean, maybe it's not very important, and maybe I won't boycott Starbucks, but they may have genuine complaints.

  • ||

    you know joe's moving up in the world when famous libertarians from other blogs are pwning his arguments.

    joe's like our own cute little pet liberal, here to spin in his wheel for our amusement.

  • ||

    you know joe's moving up in the world when famous libertarians from other blogs are pwning his arguments.

    joe's like our own cute little pet liberal, here to spin in his wheel for our amusement.

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    GM - In joe's defense, he IS slightly to the right of Stalin... Just kidding joe!

    On the other hand, if every job in the world paid enough for everyone to live a middle-class lifestyle (which is really much better than it was even a generation ago) then there'd be very littl incentive to people who actually fund business ventures (y'know... those dirty capitalists).

    And joe, just for the record, an ad hom attack on Ms. Mangu-Ward doesn't invalidate her point. Try again, maybe this time actually adressing the points she made.

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    I'd just like to chime in that i've had 5 close friends who worked at starbucks and not one of them has ever said a bad word about it. One of them actually hated coffee and he still worked there for the benefits and positive work environment.

    One family friend was a store manager for starbucks and kept working there for several years after inheriting several million dollars. I think it says a bit about the quality of the work environment that a person who could spend all his time on leisure activities keeps coming back.

    The only people i've known to complain about Starbucks are the sort of folks who feel that the world owes them a living. I don't think those sort of people could ever be content in any work environment.

    Im sure that we all know how unreliable testimonial evidence is, but i thought i'd share anyway. As it happens, I don't like coffee and i think paying 4 bucks a pop for espresso is silly, but I see no reason for an unfavorable opinion of starbucks.

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    I'm going to take the word of the people who actually work there over that of a blog writer with an ideological aversion to unions when it comes to questions about compensation and working conditions in Starbucks.

    Well, when we hear from an actual Starbucks employee, let joe know. Cuz so far we haven't heard from one.

    Certainly the blather from the lithographers union doesn't count.

    And based on my experience with unions, the odds are pretty good that Daniel Gross was a professional union organizer who worked at Starbucks for the sole purpose of infiltrating and organizing.

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    It seems to me that if things are so horrible over at Starbucks competitors like Caribou Coffee and Dunkin Doughnuts would be overwhelmed with applications from disgruntled Starbucks employees. More importantly, if they were really that bad off, the employees would unionize. Look unions were able to organize during the 19th Century when scabs were brought in robber barons brought in thugs to be up and maimed union organizers. Yet, we are now supposed to believe that desperate Starbucks employees can't form a union? Give me a break. Liberals pick on Starbucks for the same reason they pick on Wall-Mart, because ordinary surfs go there. This whole thing is about unions trying bully their way into where they are not wanted and rich liberals wanting to feel superior to everyone else.

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    I knew a lot of people who worked as Starbucks baristas in or immediately after college. None of them saw it as a long-term employment solution (i.e. career) but rather a job to pay the rent while studying, working towards their big break, whatever. Consequently, they all LOVED it. Presumably things would have been a little different had some of them been lifers. But that's still a hell of a lot better gig than pizza delivery schmo or whatever your other options are with a worthless degree and few skills.

    Only tangentially related; I realize that Starbucks is an at-will employer and can sack Red Danny whenever it wants, but I've always thought that as long as he's still doing his job adequately perkily, they should probably keep him on. Anyone up for some wild speculation as to whether this a union-busting sacking or whether it's an incompetent barista who's doing the agitating? I consider both options to be likely and the pair of them not to be mutually exclusive.

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    i go to starbucks once in a blue moon...but if they get a union i will never go there agian...a union would garantee that thier "good enough" would be anything but.

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    Any word yet from Piano Tuners' Local 412?

  • ||

    What really makes it funny, GM, is that your joke is so very original. So, if supporting unions makes me Stalin, I guess your opposition to them makes you Hitler.

    '...Hitler decreed alaw bringing an end to collective bargaining (I guess he was a right-to-work kind of guy)...Ley promised "to restore absolute leadership to the natural leader of a factory - that is, the employer...'Only the employer can decide. Many employers have for years had to call for the 'master in the house.' Now they are once again to be called the 'master in the house.'" - Shirer, William, "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, pp 282-283.

    "Earlier, the Law Regulating National Labor of January 20, 1934, known as the 'Charter of Labor,' had put the worker in his place and raised the employer to his position as aboslute master...The employer became the 'Leader of the Enterprise,' the employees the "following," or Gefosgschaft. Paragraph Two of the law set down that the 'leader of the enterprise makes the decisions for the employees and laborers in all matters concerning the enterprise.'" - Ibid, p. 363

    But of course I wouldn't accuse you of being a Nazi just because of the similarity in your attitude towards organized labor. Only a brainless thug would make such a dishonest gutter attack.

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    The interesting thing about Starbucks/Walmart bashing is that it seems to cross political lines for various reasons. I hear rants from commies and fascists alike on ths issue. Thankfully, it's pretty difficult for unions to actually bully anyone, particularly Starbucks of all places, into unionizing.

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    Hell, I'm thinking of applying to Starbucks! I don't have a 401(k), stock options or a dental plan at my white collar job, and I'd be willing to sacrifice a few thousands of dollars a year to get them!

    Although placing me behind the counter at a Starbucks would be like hiring a wino to be a bartender, but... oh, yeah, the weekly pound of coffee! Damn, this deal gets better and better!

    (I do wonder, though, how the average annual salary was calculated. It just sounds too good to be true.)

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    "based on my experience with unions, the odds are pretty good that Daniel Gross was a professional union organizer who worked at Starbucks for the sole purpose of infiltrating and organizing."

    RC, say it isn't so! I'll never forget being at an Air Force Base when a California union tried to muscle its way in with a contractor whose employees were members of a Utah union instead their union adn who were making a living by fulfilling a contract at the base.

    The union paid people minimum wage to stand outside the base gate (where were THEIR union reps???) with an anti-Air Force banner and they handed out flyers that featured a rat gnawing the U.S. flag with a headline that says "Hill Air Force Base destroys the American dream" or some such nonsense.

    Yeah, try to sell that BS to military folks driving to work every morning. In my experience, unions are often eerily similar to organized crime and are run by guys too dumb to handle operating a numbers racket.

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    I worked at Starbucks in high school and college. While I wouldn't say it's the ideal job for everyone, I don't know where else you can work part-time, get paid that well, and have benefits and do a job that requires a small enough skill set that high schoolers can easily perform its tasks.

    The idea that every low skill job should pay just as well as a white collar office gig never ceases to amaze me. Most of the people I knew at Starbucks were other students, or the occasional housewife trying to earn a little extra holiday cash. Not everyone needs a $60k a year job with Double Platinum Plus health benefits and a company car, and if that was the requirement, I guess high school students like I was when I worked for Starbucks would have been priced out of the labor market a long time ago.

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    More importantly, if they were really that bad off, the employees would unionize.

    Unless Starbucks fires people who try to unionize their workers.

    I don't get the liberatarian hostility towards unions. You hypocrites love to talk about "freedom of association" and crap -- but only while it serves the interests of corporate america. Any time people try to unionize you people turn around and attack all the efforts, instead of applauding the efforts of employee-activists trying to get a better deal collectively without using government regulations. You love contracts so much...except when the contract helps individuals get a better deal collectively then they could get by negotiating individually.

    Honestly no one gives a shit whether an HNR poster believes working conditions are bad or not. And no matter how many of your "friends" worked there, that still doesn't make you any more knowledgable about working conditions.

    Last I checked its illegal to fire someone for trying to organize a Union. But that seems to be what Starbuck's did. If they are such a great employeer and things are so great, you would think that they would say "bring it on -- we aren't afraid of a vote because our employees are happy and don't need a union so they will reject it"

    If working conditions are so great then let them put it to a vote and let it get voted down. But when they fire the guy trying to organize unions really kind of cuts against the whole "if things are so bad why dont they just unionize" meme.

    Personally I don't care if they unionize or not...but I do care when I see anti-union actions that prevent people from doing what they are allowed to do....put it to a vote. And that should upset everyone -- especially so called libertarians.

    Liberals pick on Starbucks for the same reason they pick on Wall-Mart, because ordinary surfs go there

    Uhmm...lets not forget who coined the term "latte-drinkers" as a disparaging comment about liberals....I seriously doubt that "Liberals" attack it because "ordinary surfs" go there. Again John, why don't you discuss reality instead of letting the boogeymen in your mind decide what you say

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    Joe, you never actually address the serious refutations of your decidedly weak assertions. Rather, you find the most flippant remark and go after it with all your might, assuming that somehow this discounts all other arguments and proves you right. Sadly, this is not the case.

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    Jose, I'm a Dunkin Donuts kind of guy. Doing things is what I like to do. Yes!

    Radley, I haven't heard much from Starbucks' employees, one way or the other. If wages and conditions are good enough, the employees will vote against the union. If they vote for it, I'm not going to blame it on the Jedi mind tricks of union organizers turning the barristas into zombies, but on the fact that people who know the most about the situation thought it was worthwhile. Absent force or fraud - including retaliation against pro-union employees - I don't see why it's anyone else's business.

    We'll find out soon enough if the employees want to use their freedom of association in this way - either through the unionization of their workplaces, the rejection of union proposals, or when Starbucks gears up a big anti-union campaign to try to head off their employees' decision.

    I'm certainly not going to sit here at my computer and second guess the people who actually work there.

    Oh, and John? It's "serf," not "surf," and working stiffs don't spend four bucks for a medium coffee.

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    As much as I usually despise the behavior of unions and government de facto abdication of power to them, I don't see an issue with a subset of a company's employees choosing to unionize. If Daniel Gross and a few other folks wanted to create or join a union, that's just dandy. They can give a portion of their pay to the union and negotiate raises, benefits, and working conditions as a bloc, separate from the non-union employees.

    The trouble here is that unions exploit the "tyranny of the majority" (or a vocal plurality) to force an entire class of job at a given company into a union. The union gets all the benefits of a private subcontractor (a cut of the action, negotiation power, hiring and firing power) with none of the risks (rebidding the contract, liability for worker actions, liability for bad faith) and the workers get to enjoy working for a profit-making endeavor that has an unremovable parasite attached to its cash flow.

    Sure, unions are arguably good for something, but as long as individual employees can never opt out of them without effectively opting out of their jobs, the union will always go the way of absolute unaccountable power.

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    John, are you serious? Rich liberals hate Starbucks? 'Cause the common man goes there? Do you live under a rock, man? Doesn't the phrase "latte-sipping, volvo-driving, out-of-touch liberal" mean anything anymore? I work in one of the most absurdly upper middle class neighborhoods I have ever been to (NW Portland, to be exact). One where everyone drives a Volvo or BMV with a "Kerry '94" sticker. And this neighborhood last year had the highest revenue Starbucks in the USA by volume. Shit, the common man drinks Folgers at home....

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    Is that serious enough for you, Joe M?

    Oh, wait, I just remembered - I don't give a damn.

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    I should add that while I certainly don't speak for all Starbucks employees, particularly because I don't work there anymore, I tend to think that my fellow employees would have voted against unionization because of the union dues. If your employment is basically good, there's no need to pay out an additional $30 a month for agitation you don't need.

    I agree with joe that they should be allowed to vote on it, however.

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    joe - How much are you willing to bet that one Starbucks unionizes, service and efficiency will drop through thte bottom of the floor and some other non-unionized corporation (like Dunkin Donuts) will take their place at the top?

    Of course, we could all just drink Japanese imports!

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    Rimfax,

    I understand your point, but look at the other side:

    If the union negotiates improvements in wages and working conditions, at the cost to its members of their dues and the potential hassles from the employer, an employee who benefits from those negotiations without absorbing those same costs is, himself, a parasite, getting something for nothing.

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    Tom,

    Most "hip" people I know wouldn't be caught dead at a Starbucks. They open Starbucks in places like Temple, Texas and they are a license to print money. Only faux populist pinheads like Bill O'Reilly think that there is something elitist about Starbucks.

    I don't have anything against unions as long as the free association goes both ways; meaning no closed shop. I shouldn't have to pay the local corrupt union boss a percentage of my paycheck for the right to work. I think it is forced membership that causes most libertarians to part ways with unions.

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    Who's not allowing them to vote?

    Oh yeah, the owners of the property in question.

    I think we should all vote for free coffee for everyone, it's only fair.

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    I hate coffee. And I don't understand why people shell out mucho dinero for the stuff. Unless what they're really doing is buying milkshakes and calling them coffee. Which is my own theory about the success of Starbucks.

    I have mixed feelings about unions. In practice, they seem to go wrong fairly often. However, in theory, they aren't such a bad idea. People freely associating to strengthen their bargaining position vis-à-vis corporations? Seems okay to me. I guess where I get my libertarian shackles up is when unions start getting legislation in place that completely hamstrings employers. States like Michigan have some crazy laws in that regard. Or, at least, so I hear.

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    No, John. The mere fact of drinking a latte is enough to brand you a liberal for life. I thought everyone on the Right knew that. The "hip" kids you're talking about probably don't even vote, or they vote for Nader. Democrats are solidly for Starbucks and vice-versa. Every morning in Newton, MA; Westport, CT; Scarsdale, NY; and any other solidly blue town where the median income is well over 6 figures you will see the Volvos and Saabs with their fading Kerry or Dean stickers roll in so that mom can grab a latte before dropping off Rachel and Zoe at the local private school. Starbucks is trying to spread downmarket but at $5 for a cup of coffee with milk in it they're not going to get too far down. Cops, construction workers and other serfs always go to Dunkin Donuts or McDonalds.

  • ||

    Oh, and John? It's "serf," not "surf," and working stiffs don't spend four bucks for a medium coffee.

    I know a number of union electrical workers who would disagree.

    Also, these guys are due to get raises of about 10 dollars an hour over the next four years and are being paid to go to class for electrical work once a week, all while receiving fantastic health benefits and a bunch of other miscellaneous perks. Not to mention near 100% job security.

    The gut feeling that this is just too much for businesses to sustain for long, and the fact that union officials have more political pull than elected officials in my city, are the two main reasons why I distrust unions. Neither are libertarian arguments but are natural to think about unless you're a diehard liberal.

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    Most "hip" people I know wouldn't be caught dead at a Starbucks

    John, did you ever think that maybe you rely a little too much on sterotypes and generalizations.

    Working class, average joe-types do not pay over $4 for a cup of coffee -- and no amount of stereotypes and generalizations are gonna convince anyone that Starbuck's clientele is your typical joe schmoe blue-collar working stiff.

    Your beloved Club For Growth even puts out hit pieces on Latte Drinking liberals to show how out of touch with the average american they are. And now you are trying to convince people that liberals hate the one place that is synonymous with lattes because they cater to the average american?? Wow -- I mean WOW!!

    I think it is forced membership that causes most libertarians to part ways with unions.

    That may very well be the case...its too bad the rhetoric only reflects that belief when you get called out. If any of your or other people's anti-union original comments would have mentioned anything about closed shop unions or the right to opt out maybe this statement could be taken seriously.

    Unfortunately, only after a bunch of generic anti-union vitriol coupled with assertions about how Starbuck's benefits and pay is great and doesnt need union and union backers are like Stalin -- does this PoV come out.

    Sorry John, but I don't buy it. It seems to me that all the anti-union posters can't fucking stand it when a bunch of nobody get together and try to get more from their employer.

    Around these parts it seems like :

    Corporations getting the most money they can via contracts and the market is good.

    Individual workers doing the same is bad.

    Ill be on the lookout for right to organize rhetoric that isn't compelled by others calling you out, but I wont hold my breath.

    And as for closed shops....It's not really "forced membership" in the union that a majority of their co-workers vote for, is it?? They are free to quit and find a non-union shop if they don't want to pay the dues aren't they???

    Funny how libertarians love to throw "if they don't like it, quit" around when it comes to workers complaining about being mistreated....but when it is workers complaining about having to be in a union -- all of a sudden libertarians forget the "find a new employer" meme they love so much.

  • Baylen||

    I worked at Starbucks for about 5 years and have about 100 great things to say about the experience and very few bad things to say about the experience. If they'd gone union, I would have stayed and negotiated on my own. That is, until the mob, er, union kneecapped me.

  • thoreau||

    Um, guys, a few things:

    1) My wife works for a bookstore chain that has a Starbucks in every store. It doesn't seem like such a bad place to work. I just want to put this fact out there before I make my next points, so nobody can accuse me of harboring animosity toward the company.

    2) joe never said that Starbucks is a bad place to work. He never said that he's taking the word of one former employee as the definitive answer on the matter. All he said is that he's not going to take the word of a single blogger with a possible bias either.

    3) While I'm sure Starbucks is a decent place to work, some of what Katherine Mangu-Ward wrote in her post sounded more like breathless advertising hype than a sober analysis. Now, there's nothing wrong with a non-sober blog post (check out some of the stuff that I've written on my blog). And for all I know, Katherine Mangu-Ward might even be right about working conditions at Starbucks. Hell, for all I know, maybe she used to work there.

    Be that as it may, the tone of the post sounded like advertising, and joe said he'd rather hear from actual Starbucks employees than from bloggers who might just have some biases (silly, I know).

    4) Being that Hit and Runners enjoy a well-earned reputation as hard-nosed skeptics, I'm surprised that nobody (aside from me and SPD) asked any questions about the $35k number in the post, offered without citation or explanation (does it include the price of non-wage benefits?).

    I know it's fun to go after joe, but I thought he made a good point. There are lots of reasonable points that could be made in favor of Starbucks, but the tone of this post sounded more like an ad than an analysis (or even a snarky blog post), and joe cried foul. That's all.

    I, for one, would like to know more about that $35k number. It seems somewhat surprising. Does that make me a bad person?

  • ||

    Oh, and John? It's "serf," not "surf," and working stiffs don't spend four bucks for a medium coffee.

    I know a number of union electrical workers who would disagree.


    Shhhhh! Joe thinks he understands how the other half lives. Don't shatter his illusions.

  • ||

    If Starbucks employees want to unionize, that's their right. I think Starbucks has every right to say "no" and not employ union members - or employ union members and work with them, if only out of fear they won't have employees.

    But even if you accept the idea that Starbucks must be forced to employ union members, do they really have to tolerate "demonstrations at Starbucks locations" by an employee who wants to start a union?

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Um, yeah, I'm going to take the word of the people who actually work there over that of a blog writer with an ideological aversion to unions when it comes to questions about compensation and working conditions in Starbucks.

    Joe said it, I believe it, that settles it.

    I am grateful to Starbucks and to Gen X for the exponential increase in the quality of coffee during the last two decades or so.

    Oh sure, I hate all that Soccer Mom posturing as they order up a non-fat Latte with nutmeg, chives, and leave some room for the crushed Reese's Pieces.

    But the actual coffee is fab. Give me a Vente of Sumatra and leave some room for the actual half and half.......Thank you so much.

    And the competitive pressure, as I mentioned, has made the marketplace abound with good to excellent coffee. Even Target brand Columbian is pretty dam good.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Tom, there is nothing free or voluntary about union organizing because the whole process is governed by very specific federal and state regulation which you acknowledge yourself when you mention that it is illegal to fire anyone for union organizing.

    Interesting that many of the same people who don't buy free association for Christians who refuse to rent an apartment to a gay couple suddenly have an epiphany when it's about unions.

  • ||

    Funny how libertarians love to throw "if they don't like it, quit" around when it comes to workers complaining about being mistreated....but when it is workers complaining about having to be in a union -- all of a sudden libertarians forget the "find a new employer" meme they love so much.

    Well, no. If the employer wants me at a given price, and I want that employer at a given price, we should be free to contract. Plain and simple. Why is this so hard for you?

  • ||

    Starbucks is trying to spread downmarket but at $5 for a cup of coffee with milk in it they're not going to get too far down. Cops, construction workers and other serfs always go to Dunkin Donuts or McDonalds.

    Regular coffee at Starbucks is $1.80 for a large. It's only the frilly espresso drinks that approach the $5 mark. Now those are what people tend to buy, but Dunkin' Donuts also carries similar espresso drinks at similar prices.

  • thoreau||

    Personally, I prefer it when the people who argue for my side sound like debaters (here are some numbers with sources) than cheerleaders ("They're called partners!").

    But that might just be a reflection of my high school days.

  • ||

    Tom,

    Just because a majority of workers choose to be in a union doesn't mean they get the right to tell employers they can now ONLY hire union. I don't get the closed shop - open shop stuff. I mean, jiminy christmas, you want to pressure your employer, fine by me. Have fun mackarel, but don't then turn around and say that everyone has to join your organization and call it freedom of association. Your hypocrisy is staggering.

  • ||

    To answer ChicagoTom's question:
    The reason I, will not speak for others, do not like unions is because they destroy employment-at-will, employee works at their discretion and employer employs at their discretion. Anything that would force an employee to work for another I would be against just like I am against anything that forces an employer to employ.

  • ||

    If Starbucks employees want to unionize, that's their right. I think Starbucks has every right to say "no" and not employ union members - or employ union members and work with them, if only out of fear they won't have employees.

    But even if you accept the idea that Starbucks must be forced to employ union members, do they really have to tolerate "demonstrations at Starbucks locations" by an employee who wants to start a union?

  • ||

    I don't have anything against unions as long as the free association goes both ways; meaning no closed shop.

    Exactly. In a closed shop situation like you have in forced union states, unions represent the antithesis of free association. Being in the broadcasting business, it makes me laugh until I piss my pants when I hear union bums talking about free association, when I can't go to work for most networks unless I want to join up and live with their negotiated terms. The other major issue I have is with their "spread the work" philosophy, by which you can't take a piss unless it's in your job description because you might be taking clock hours away from someone else with more seniority.

  • ||

    joe said:


    If the union negotiates improvements in wages and working conditions, at the cost to its members of their dues and the potential hassles from the employer, an employee who benefits from those negotiations without absorbing those same costs is, himself, a parasite, getting something for nothing.



    This doesn't make any sense unless you are playing in a zero-sum economic sandbox. In the real world, if the employer rationally agrees to pay for raises and improvements, that's symbiotic. The employer demonstrates that she has raised her value of personnel continuity and the skills required for those positions. The employees are the potential beneficiaries of that reassessment.

    If the union has a de facto monopoly on critical parts of the employer's labor, the employer must evaluate not just the value of personnel continuity and skills, but also of litigation, before-during-after-strike security, and cash flow interruptions. The employee can't be the parasite there because the employee is providing things that the employer wants. The union is only providing an absense of things that the employer doesn't want with virtually no accountability should they insist that the entire enterprise aim itself for a fiscal iceberg.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    The days of Birkenstock-clad, latte sipping lefties hanging out at Starbucks are but a dim memory.

  • ||

    I want to know how H & R contacted my iPod and made the shuffle function play Frank Sinatra's "The Coffee Song" just as I started reading this thread. Pretty amazing for your server squirrels.

  • ||

    The salary figure is pure BS.
    According to the Fortune 2006 report the most common salaried job is the "Coordinator II" position.
    According to hotjobs, there is an opening for a Coordinator II at Fountain Valley, CA.
    http://hotjobs.yahoo.com/jobs/CA/Fountain-Valley/Clerical-Administrative/JJGKFE973


    The job description is:



    Job ID 0000ABZ
    Position Type Full-Time Employee
    Company Name Starbucks Coffee Company
    Location Fountain Valley, CA
    Salary Unspecified
    Date Posted August 21, 2006
    Experience 2-5 Years Experience

    Job Summary and Mission

    This job contributes to Starbucks success by providing support of a moderately complex nature to a department, discipline, zone, or regional office. Models and acts in accordance with Starbucks guiding principles.


    Summary of Key Responsibilities

    Responsibilities and essential job functions include but are not limited to the following:

    * Completes administrative projects including coordinating or tracking budgets, invoice coding, tracking travel expenses, updating databases, generating reports and identifying variances.
    * Maintains regular and consistent attendance and punctuality.
    * Orders supplies. Coordinates space and facilities moves and setup for new partners, including obtaining necessary computer equipment, phones, filing cabinets and other office supplies.
    * Organizes and maintains filing system(s). Responds to phone calls and written requests for information. Researches issues and gathers information. May index records and information.
    * Provides administrative support and project coordination to multiple partners within a business unit or department. Identifies and implements processes to improve work flow, organization and communication. Distributes material and communicates standard operating procedures. Responds to requests for information. Answers phones and responds to questions.
    * Receives, sorts, and distributes mail. May manage large mailings or distribution of materials such as forms and brochures. May maintain department bulletin board or communications area. May order and replenish department supplies.
    * Schedules and coordinates complex meetings, training, seminars, activities and business travel for departmental partners. May take and publish meeting minutes.
    * Types general correspondence including memos and e-mails. Prepares charts, tables, graphs and other presentation material. Proofreads copy for spelling, grammar and layout, and makes appropriate edits. Responsible for accuracy and appearance of final documents.


    Qualifications
    Summary of Experience

    * General office administration


    Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

    * Ability to understand and carry out oral and written instructions and request clarification when needed
    * Ability to deliver excellent customer service
    * Ability to work independently and make decisions with minimal supervision
    * Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint and Outlook
    * Knowledge of general office procedures and equipment
    * Ability to write legibly
    * Ability to build relationships
    * Ability to make recommendations on changes in approach, concepts, and the design of solutions as a member of a team
    * Ability to set priorities, meet deadlines and manage multiple projects in a fast-paced, changing environment


    If this is the most common salaried job at Starbucks, they have a world of problems beyond unionization. Like who in the hell is actually selling thier mocha lattes?

  • ||

    If this is multiply posted (I'm been at it for 30 minutes & it's not even in my job description), blame the unionized squirrel cafe.

    working stiffs don't spend four bucks for a medium coffee

    The gut feeling that this is just too much


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1IV0cb0EiM

  • ||

    I always assumed the reason liberals diskliked Starbucks was because it was successful.

    I agree with the others who say the workers have a right to organize and they also have a right to say 'no' to unionization.

  • ||

    The salary figure is pure BS.
    No kidding. I'm glad that I'm not the only person who doesn't take seriously Reason's consistently shallow attempts at reporting facts.

  • ||

    The original post seems to be referring to Fortune magazine's figures for Starbucks as of this January. Hourly workers were described as being paid on average $35,294, while salaried workers were described as being paid on average $44,790. These numbers are averages for the entire company, not just baristas.

    Fortune should really have been cited to avoid the inevitable hints of autoprocting.

    According to commentary found by a little googling, full-time workers at the roasting plants likely skew the average, if you're trying to apply it to baristas alone.

  • ||

    Joe, Chicago Tom and others...

    The only source that says the dude was fired for organizing a union is the union site...come on, let's at least get some facts in the conversation. Starbucks says (on the union site) that they fired him for initimidating other workers...so, if the other workers complained to management about this guy, then aren't Starbuck's actions actually serving the interests of their employees as expressed by the employees?

    At this point, you don;t need to answer because unless you post a link with more facts on this case from somewhere other than the unions, then you are just posturing like the rest...

  • ||

    The salary figure is pure BS.
    No kidding. I'm glad that I'm not the only person who doesn't take seriously Reason's consistently shallow attempts at reporting facts.

    Starbucks workers, nearly all of whom are part-time, get health benefits (including dental), paid vacation and sick leave, stock options, a 401(k) plan, dometic partner benefits, and a pound of coffee every week. They're called "partners," and they earn significantly more than minimum wage, with average annual pay of hourly employees at $35,294 last year.

    Apparently not, unless they're working nearly 80 hours per week:

    http://www.starbucks.com/aboutus/job_retail_pop.asp
    Benefits Overview
    If you work full time or part time (generally 20 hours or more per week) you may be able to participate in a variety of programs such as Healthcare Benefits, Stock Options, and Discounted Stock Purchase Plan. The 401(k) Retirement Savings Plan is an additional program available to eligible partners.

    http://starbucksgossip.typepad.com/_/2004/08/starbucks_offic.html
    Daniel Gross, who is leading attempts to organize a baristas union, says part-time Starbucks workers get benefits only if they work 20 hours a week, which isn't guaranteed. And when they do get benefits, they must pay for them. That cost is especially difficult when baristas are paid $7.75 an hour [average is $8.83 according to a survey], $2.60 over the minimum wage, he says. ... (Newsday)

  • ||

    Here's the part the server didn't like:

    Starbucks workers, nearly all of whom are part-time, get health benefits (including dental), paid vacation and sick leave, stock options, a 401(k) plan, dometic partner benefits, and a pound of coffee every week. They're called "partners," and they earn significantly more than minimum wage, with average annual pay of hourly employees at $35,294 last year.

    Apparently not, unless they're working nearly 80 hours per week:

    http://www.starbucks.com/aboutus/job_retail_pop.asp
    Benefits Overview
    If you work full time or part time (generally 20 hours or more per week) you may be able to participate in a variety of programs such as Healthcare Benefits, Stock Options, and Discounted Stock Purchase Plan. The 401(k) Retirement Savings Plan is an additional program available to eligible partners.

    http://starbucksgossip.typepad.com/_/2004/08/starbucks_offic.html
    Daniel Gross, who is leading attempts to organize a baristas union, says part-time Starbucks workers get benefits only if they work 20 hours a week, which isn't guaranteed. And when they do get benefits, they must pay for them. That cost is especially difficult when baristas are paid $7.75 an hour [average is $8.83 according to a survey], $2.60 over the minimum wage, he says. ... (Newsday)

  • ||

    Starbucks workers, nearly all of whom are part-time, get health benefits (including dental), paid vacation and sick leave, stock options, a 401(k) plan, dometic partner benefits, and a pound of coffee every week. They're called "partners," and they earn significantly more than minimum wage, with average annual pay of hourly employees at $35,294 last year.

    Apparently not, unless they're working nearly 80 hours per week:

    http://www.starbucks.com/aboutus/job_retail_pop.asp
    Benefits Overview
    If you work full time or part time (generally 20 hours or more per week) you may be able to participate in a variety of programs such as Healthcare Benefits, Stock Options, and Discounted Stock Purchase Plan. The 401(k) Retirement Savings Plan is an additional program available to eligible partners.

    http://starbucksgossip.typepad.com/_/2004/08/starbucks_offic.html
    Daniel Gross, who is leading attempts to organize a baristas union, says part-time Starbucks workers get benefits only if they work 20 hours a week, which isn't guaranteed. And when they do get benefits, they must pay for them. That cost is especially difficult when baristas are paid $7.75 an hour [average is $8.83 according to a survey], $2.60 over the minimum wage, he says. ... (Newsday)

  • ||

    I was amused to see that fired Barista Daniel Gross was organizing for the IWW Starbucks Union. The IWW stands for Industrial Workers of the World, as in "I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night." I'd forgotten the Wobblies were still around.

  • ||

    More testimony for Starbucks:

    A number of friends of mine worked there through high school/college. None of them ever complained about Starbuck's. (Of course students always complain about working in general.) One was a manager for a few years. He left because there is a limit to what they will pay, which is fair enough. His wife has continued to work there part time while raising their two children. She sticks around for the benefits in addition to the extra dough.

    Unlike probably a lot of people here I have nothing against unions in general, but what more could these people want from this kind of a job? I think what we have are some zealous pro-union sorts who think that everyone needs to be in a union. If we could eliminate the federal laws "protecting" employees from their employers, I could see their point. As it stands, I think they are shooting the proverbial goose.
    But, hey, that's their right to be foolish.

  • ||

    Baylen: Care to say roughly how much you were paid (and at what time period)?

  • Paul||

    Um, yeah, I'm going to take the word of the people who actually work there over that of a blog writer with an ideological aversion to unions when it comes to questions about compensation and working conditions in Starbucks.

    I know lots of Starbucks employees (living in Seattle, natch) and to the last, they like working there. My guess, joe, is they'll vote against the union. If they vote for unionization, I too will not deplore the 'Jedi mind tricks' of the union organizers, any more than I'll deplore the 'Jedi mind tricks' of the corporation if the employess vote against.

  • ||

    I would think the Starbucks baristas should join the Union of the Snake. I hear it's on the rise.

  • nmg||

    I don't understand the controversy . His right to agitate for unionization of Starbucks employees has not been infringed. Not on iota.

    nmg

  • ||

    Some people I work with were recently forced into a union.

    Who loves the union: The lefties who are not forced to be in the union.

    Who hates the union: The people who have to join the union and now find their wages now go up less than inflation every year. On top of that, 2% of their salary is taken for dues. The union currently doesn't have a contract, which means that their wages are frozen. The union is negotiating for benefits that will benefit only a tiny fraction of workers.

    I always get a kick out of seeing left-wing union members complaining about the evils of unions.

    I could see there being times when unionizing is a good thing for a lot of workers, but I think that most unions are only about protecting the interests of the union leaders.

  • ||

    Forgive me but I don't understand the position of Kwix and Mr. FLM. Kwix's statement that "the salary figure is pure BS" is directly contradicted by the link he gives, where it states that the average annual earnings of the most common hourly job is around $35K. The only support for his assertion seems to be the job ad where it lists the salary as "unspecified"...

    And Mr. FLM's statement that you need to work 80 hours a week to get benefits is likewise directly contradicted in his own post, where the union organizer guy plainly states that you're eligible if you work 20 hours a week. I must be missing something.

  • Paul||

    Starbucks is trying to spread downmarket but at $5 for a cup of coffee with milk in it they're not going to get too far down. Cops, construction workers and other serfs always go to Dunkin Donuts or McDonalds.

    Regular coffee at Starbucks is $1.80 for a large. It's only the frilly espresso drinks that approach the $5 mark. Now those are what people tend to buy, but Dunkin' Donuts also carries similar espresso drinks at similar prices.

    My neighbor is a financial analyst for Starbucks. According to him, it depends on what region of the country you're in. West Coast shops sell more flowery espresso drinks. East Coast goes more for straight drip coffee.

  • ||

    Ammonium, which union? I get the impression that grocery store (and I suppose Starbucks) style unions do little other than take dues from their members, but when it comes to the classic blue-collar jobs (construction, electric, etc.) the union is more than generous.

  • ||

    1) I used to go to Starbucks a lot, as a social mocha drinker. Not so much anymore. But the people who worked there seemed to be pretty happy with working at the store itself, although they occasionally complained about "the stupid stuff that Corporate makes us do."

    2) As I think someone else already pointed out, the "average hourly wage" cited above must obviously include the wages of other hourly employees who make a lot more money than baristas. I don't think baristas make anything like that amount.

    3) In principle, I have no objection to employees banding together voluntarily in an attempt to form a labor monopoly -- if they think they can. In practice I suspect that such a monopoly, in a free market (like almost every other monopoly in a free market) will not hold -- unless the State steps in with laws to enforce that monopoly and protect it from competition by non-members. And that I would object to.

    I would also object to giving members of the labor monopoly a free pass to do things that are normally recognized as illegal, such as trespassing on their employer's property when not working, if their employer wishes them to leave; or blocking the right-of-way on property not owned by those employees.

  • Paul||

    1) I used to go to Starbucks a lot, as a social mocha drinker. Not so much anymore. But the people who worked there seemed to be pretty happy with working at the store itself, although they occasionally complained about "the stupid stuff that Corporate makes us do."

    Shyeah, welcome to 'working for a living'. I've never met a corporate 'team-building' exercise I liked...

    Some of Starbucks 'flag-waving' corporate events have reached such a bizarre status they've even reached mythic proportions. (scroll down about halfway to 'starbucks' entry-- you'll laugh, I promise)

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    Only a brainless thug would make such a dishonest gutter attack.

    As Shop Steward of Local 143, International Brotherhood of Brainless Thuggery, I wish to register in the strongest terms possible (said terms likely involving broken kneecaps and / or other unfortunate accidents or occurrences during which time we were all at my place playing Pinochle) that we reject categorically any suggestion that we are not in complete solidarity with our brothers and sisters of the United Federation of Dishonest Gutter Attackers, nor would any of us here at Local 143 ever consider scab attacking at any closed-shop gutter.

  • ||

    I prefer it when the people who argue for my side sound like debaters (here are some numbers with sources)

    yeah cuz the only arguement therou will accept is a government study that has the payed-with-your-taxes seal of approval

  • thoreau||

    joshua-

    I was thinking more along the lines of, well, average barista pay, rather than some numbers that have nothing to do with barista pay, and an attribution like "According to the Starbucks employment web site" or "According to my friends who have worked at Starbucks."

    If Katherine Mangu-Ward was making a point that you didn't agree with, how would you regard her handling of numbers?

  • ||

    thoreau,

    That reminds me of one of the first Wal-Mart pieces I saw in Hit & Run. The writer helpfully informed us that the average salary of Wal-Mart employees was higher than that of union employess in the organized supermarkets competing will Wal-Mart.

    Oddly enough, I was the only one to mention the problem with this factoid.

  • ||

    Thanks, DA.

    So have you noticed how liberals like me have self-serving, stereotyped views of working people and union members?

    Come, do your Jew. Come on, it's hilarious.

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    Come, do your Jew. Come on, it's hilarious.

    So you've seen it already? Who knew?

  • ||

    Yuppie chic be damned: I go to Starbucks because I like the coffee - and I will continue to go to Starbucks, at least until they open a Tim Hortons here in Bismarck.

  • Shannon Love||

    I suspect the union targeted Starbucks for the same reason that unions and environmental groups target Apple Computer. Both companies customers are sympathetic to the to the issues and that makes the companies easy shakedown targets either for publicity or cold cash.

  • ||

    I think we should all vote for free coffee for everyone, it's only fair.

    kohlrabi,

    Your wish has been granted

  • ||

    This strikes me as a time it would have been good for the original poster to, if not follow, at least make note of the comment section.

  • ||

    Government rules, company rules, union rules? I though the elimination of rules was the goal? Why another layer?

  • Shannon Love||

    ChicagoTom,

    I don't get the liberatarian hostility towards unions

    Unions use violence, both explicit and implicit, to form cartels of labor that suppress all competition. "Scrabs" are nothing but the economic competitors of union members. Union rhetoric speaks in terms of class solidarity and of struggle against employers but the real targets of their anger and violence are competing workers. IIRC, union members killed nearly 10,000 scrabs in the period from the civil war to WWII. Yet during the same time frame they killed zero members of management. These actions reveal their true agenda. Members of management are the goose that lays the golden egg. Competing workers are the ones who will steal the egg before the unionist can.

    Today, unions seldom kill they just use state power to prevent any employer from hiring anyone not in the union. This grants the union a state enforced labor monopoly.

    If unions functioned like a kind of co-op that sold the labor services of its members, that would be great from a libertarian perspective but as long as they rely on force to get their way they get downchecked.

  • ||

    Yeah, Shannon, my real problem is that I don't read enough history about World War Two.

    You clearly don't know what you're talking about, as demonstrated by "Naziism was a working class phenomenon from the get-go." That's a nice little map of the inside of your head you've drawn there. Now read a little bit so you can learn how it departs from reality.

    You might find the part about Roehm, the SA, and the Second Revolution quite illuminating. Tell the truth, Shannon, how many of those names have you heard before?

    Tell me, you brilliant historian, what happened the day after May Day, 1933?

    chirp chirp chrip. I didn't think so.

    I especially like how your reaction to quotes from the Nazis themselves and statements of fact about their policies is to say "nuh-uh."

  • ||

    Zach,

    Forgive me but I don't understand the position of Kwix... Kwix's statement that "the salary figure is pure BS" is directly contradicted by the link he gives, where it states that the average annual earnings of the most common hourly job is around $35K. The only support for his assertion seems to be the job ad where it lists the salary as "unspecified"...



    That confusion would be partially my fault. I referred to the 'Coordinator II' position as a "salaried" job, whereas it is indeed an "hourly" job. As for my proof of my assertion, please follow the link to the Fortune Magazine article in my previous post.

    The author of this lovely article, Katherine Mangu-Ward, stated:

    Starbucks workers, nearly all of whom are part-time, get health benefits (including dental), paid vacation and sick leave, stock options, a 401(k) plan, dometic partner benefits, and a pound of coffee every week. They're called "partners," and they earn significantly more than minimum wage, with average annual pay of hourly employees at $35,294 last year. Observe the despondent wage slave (female barista) depicted at right.



    This was clearly meant to convey that the average barista makes over $35k a year. What she failed to do was cite her reference which was the Fortune 500, 2005 Best 100 Places to Work. In 2005, as in 2006, per Fortune, the "most common hourly job" is the 'Coordinator II' position with an average yearly salary of $35,294(2005) which equates to around $17.50 an hour. The problem with this is that Fortune only lists "full-time" positions. The "most common" honor actually belongs to the Baristas which do not make $17.50/hr but rather bit closer to $8.50/hr and part time to boot. In addition, Ms. Mangu-Ward stated that the $32,294 figure was the "average annual pay of hourly employees" which is blatently incorrect. That figure is the average salary of a single, full-time, hourly postion, that of 'Coordinator II'. It is for this egregious lack of fact checking that her statement is complete and utter bullshit.

  • ||

    Zach,

    Forgive me but I don't understand the position of Kwix... Kwix's statement that "the salary figure is pure BS" is directly contradicted by the link he gives, where it states that the average annual earnings of the most common hourly job is around $35K. The only support for his assertion seems to be the job ad where it lists the salary as "unspecified"...



    That confusion would be partially my fault. I referred to the 'Coordinator II' position as a "salaried" job, whereas it is indeed an "hourly" job. As for my proof of my assertion, please follow the link to the Fortune Magazine article in my previous post. I provided the job advertisement to demonstrate the that 'Coordinator II' position was not that of the 'Barista'.

    The author of this lovely article, Katherine Mangu-Ward, stated:

    Starbucks workers, nearly all of whom are part-time, get health benefits (including dental), paid vacation and sick leave, stock options, a 401(k) plan, dometic partner benefits, and a pound of coffee every week. They're called "partners," and they earn significantly more than minimum wage, with average annual pay of hourly employees at $35,294 last year. Observe the despondent wage slave (female barista) depicted at right.



    This was clearly meant to convey that the average 'Barista' makes over $35k a year. What she failed to do was cite her reference which was the Fortune 500, 2005 Best 100 Places to Work. In 2005, as in 2006, per Fortune, the "most common hourly job" is the 'Coordinator II' position with an average yearly salary of $35,294(2005) which equates to around $17.50 an hour. The problem with this is that Fortune only lists "full-time" positions. The "most common" honor actually belongs to the 'Barista' position which does not make $17.50/hr but rather bit closer to $8.50/hr and part time to boot. In addition, Ms. Mangu-Ward stated that the $32,294 figure was the "average annual pay of hourly employees" which is blatently incorrect. That figure is the average salary of a single, full-time, hourly postion, that of 'Coordinator II'. It is for this egregious lack of fact checking that her statement is complete and utter bullshit.

  • ||

    As I was beginning my stroll home this eve, I happened to see one of my favorite employees from my personal Sinincincinnati Starbucks walking with her significant other. I mentioned this thread to her about unionizing. She had not heard of it. I told her to elide it from her memory. She was cool.
    With that out of the way, why has no one thought of this?:
    Round up every steenking barista and bus them back to Mexico!
    (My favorite employee seems to be of the Japanese persuasion, and she is not the brewer nor toaster, nor whatever. She totally shuns each and every barista, as she rightfully should.)

  • ||

    "why again should we remove higher payed employees again from the average?"

    Because the statement was "average annual pay of hourly employees at $35,294 last year," and that's not the average annual pay of hourly employees.

    But, nevermind. You clearly aren't interested in facts if they don't make your political point.

  • ||

    OK, pwning Shannon was a lot of fun, but that was clearly overkill.

    I'll just say in my own defense that I've taken way too much crap from Mrs. joe about leaving big books with swastikas on the cover lying about the house to allow someone so clearly ignorant of the subject to tell me "You need to study your history more."

  • ||

    Ah, the confusion of "average." S35,xxx may be the mean, but it's certainly neither the median nor the mode. Even the smart folk who comment at Reason often forget this sort of thing.

  • thoreau||

    joshua-

    Because the thread is about efforts to unionize baristas. If one wants to argue that baristas are treated great, don't tell me how much money other employees are paid.

    FWIW, I think that $8.50/hour with benefits is pretty damn good for entry-level workers, and a hell of a lot better than even many unionized workers in comparable jobs make.

    See, I just made a perfectly cogent defense of Starbucks without resorting to funny numbers or stuff that sounds like it came from a bad PR brochure.

    I haven't said a word of criticism against Starbucks, and as far as I can tell joe hasn't either. Rather, I and several other posters have criticized Katherine Mangu-Ward's bad arguments.

    If we hold her to a high standard, maybe it's because we want to see good arguments made for our side.

  • ||

    joe,

    The fascist industrialist was really named "Evil Kirdorf"? That's the coolest thing I've ever heard.

  • ||

    Starbucks workers, nearly all of whom are part-time, get health benefits (including dental), paid vacation and sick leave, stock options, a 401(k) plan, domestic partner benefits, and a pound of coffee every week. They're called "partners," and they earn significantly more than minimum wage, with average annual pay of hourly employees at $35,294 last year.

    Hell! That's better than what I get now as a FULL TIME worker. We don't even have a coffee maker in our lunch room (there used to be but they were to lazy to keep it clean), much less get a pound of grounds per week. No benefits either.

    (My only complaint about Starbucks is that you have to pay for to use their WiFi hotspots when there are a couple of local competitors that have free access as an amenity. Of than that...)

    The Union ingrates should try working an hour at Wisconsin Digger's Hotline where you have to deal with surly construction contractors who bite your head off if you mispronounce their name or ignorant homeowners who can't tell the cardinal directions from their anus and don't even know what the nearest cross street to their own homes is named. After that, then they can come crying to me about "unfit working conditions" and "wage slavery." Until then, shut the fuck up you blue collar slobs!

    BTW, which of the two groups organized labor run this hypothetical Starbucks Union? The Communists, or the Mob?

  • ||

    EDIT: BTW, which of the two groups historically affiliated with organized labor will run this hypothetical Starbucks Union? The Communists, or the Mob?

  • ||

    The Hitler analogies surfaced quickly in this one.

  • ||

    And just to stay on topic: I worked at Starbucks for a year, and the only thing worth complaining about is the lobotomizing company culture.

  • thoreau||

    joshua, let's say that somebody wanted to argue that a group of professionals were amply compensated and had nothing to complain about, and then posted some suspiciously high numbers that turned out to have nothing to do with the people in question. Would you call bullshit?

    What if somebody posted a global warming projection that used suspiciously large numbers, and it later turned out that those numbers were taken completely out of context? Would you call bullshit?

    So now we take Katherine Mangu-Ward to task for posting some grossly inaccurate numbers to make her point and you're upset.

    FWIW, like I said before, I have nothing bad to say about Starbucks. This isn't about Starbucks. This is about the way that Katherine Mangu-Ward writes.

    Oh, one other thing: I'm a paying subscriber. I have a right to complain about this!

  • ||

    thoreau, there's nothing strictly innacurate about her numbers. You can call them misleading, if you like, but when she says the "average" is 35K for hourly workers, that probably means the mean, which isn't all that unbelievable considering that until you become a manager of some sort (i.e. above team leader, shift supervisor, etc.) you are probably hourly. Additionally, independent contractors within Starbucks' corporate offices are probably hourly, and make a pretty penny to boot.

    After all did Mangu-Ward make the ol' bait and switch (talking about baristas but quoting stats on "Starbucks workers). Yes. But that's not inaccurate. If people don't know how to read, that's their own friggin' fault.

    Misleading? Perhaps. Inaccurate? Certainly not.

  • ||

    AR: Is being misleading -- even if inadvertent -- not reproachable?

    Consider:

    "Saddam's belligerence was a threat to peace -- not only did he use toxic gas on his country's ethnic minorities, but he warred with Iraq, invaded Kuwait, and bankrolled terrorists.

    "Not even the United States could consider itself safe from attack -- on September 11, 2001, 19 terrorists hijacked jetliners and crashed them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, killing more than 3,000 people."

    Two quite accurate sentences, considered apart. A bit misleading to place them one after the other.

  • ||

    "Liberals pick on Starbucks for the same reason they pick on Wall-Mart, because ordinary surfs go there."

    Damn and I always thought I was a serf!

    Or does John mean the Beach Boy types?

    "Let's go serfin'(?) now
    everybody's learnin' how
    come on a safari with me..."

  • ||

    Misleading? Perhaps. Inaccurate? Certainly not.

    And why should a paying subscriber complain when a journalist is being misleading? I mean, come on, it's no big deal, right?

    The thing is, there is a perfectly good case that could have been made with perfectly relevant numbers (obtainable by, say, looking through the job ads, the sort of hard-hitting research that journalists ought to be able to do). That case is the one I made in my 9:53 pm post.

    I have no complaint about Starbucks. I have a big complaint, however, about a journalist from a publication that I consider pretty high-quality using misleading numbers when more honest numbers would suffice, and sounding like a cheerleader to boot, when a perfectly honest case could have been made.

  • ||

    Fair enough, I never said it didn't deserve criticism, just that strictly speaking, the numbers are probably accurate.

    Yes, Stevo, misleading does deserve some criticism, however, I reserve my more vociferous criticisms for the people who don't employ critical reading and thinking skills.

  • ||

    Steve,

    Emil Kirdorf. That was a typo. Sorry to disappoint.

    Shannon,

    That's all quite nice, but it's a straw man. I never claimed that the Nazis represented late-stage capitalism. I just refuted your assertions that:

    1. "The Nazi party was a working class phenomenon from the get-go." Now you're confusing petit bougeois with working class? Please, don't talk about class dynamics. You're going to hurt yourself. Also, among the founders of the Nazis were Goering, Dr. Schact

    "Nazi's hated capitalism in all forms..." No, they clearly loved crony-capitalism and corporatism, which are the two most common forms of capitalism. Had you limited your comments to saying that Nazis hated free-market capitalism, you would have been right, but your "No Enemies On the Right" ideology made you over-reach.

    "...and the major capitalist where the last segment of German society to sign on." No, the Social Democrats and the churches were the last segments of German society to sign on, as the rabid support of the listed industrialists prior to Hitler coming to power demonstrates. From Shirer, 203: "Fritz Thyssen, the head of the steel trust...was an even earlier contributor. He had met the Nazi leader in Munich in 1923, been carried away by his eloquence and forthwith made, through Ludendorff, and intial gife of 100,000 gold marks to the then obscure Nazi Party." Right from the beginning, Hitler had the support of industrialists, and it was their contributions that paid for the Brownshirts (literally, paid for the brown shirts), the newspapers, and the campaigns.

    "The idea that Nazi's busted workers heads for the benefit of the employers is laughably off the mark." Except that your own quote demonstrates that they did, if fact, destroy the unions and replace them with a Labor Front dedicated to the enforcement of the owners' will in how businesses were run, and what working conditions and wages should be. Just like yourself, they applied the "fuehrer principe" to workplaces, declaring the owner to be the natural authority, and the workers to have no right to challenge his dictates.

    "I reiterate..." You aren't reiterating. What you are now arguing falls well short of the earlier statements you made. I have no disagreement with the new position you've adopted, and I'm glat that I seem to have beaten some sense into you after all.

  • ||

    so angry, joe. so, so angry.

  • ||

    joe,

    Dr Hjalmar Schacht (governor of the German central bank) was by no means "a founder of the Nazi party" -- not even close. He decided to join the so-called "Harzburg Front" that was opposed to the Young Plan in 1929 but he was conservative centrist until then. But of course he became a "fund-raiser" for the NSDAP in 1932/33, and a very prominent one at that.

    And the nazis were largly proponents of an autarky-crazy command economy. As Hitler put it nicely: "It doesn't matter who owns an industry as long as it produces the way my government orders it to do"

  • Baylen||

    Eric the .5b (about 50 comments up the chain),

    I worked at *$ from 93-97 or 98. It was mostly part time, and always at least 20 hrs./week. I worked in the store some and also worked, later on, in the specialty sales dept. (which means I went around to restaurants and hotels that served *$ and did quality control). In stores as a regular barista, I think I made about $7 an hour, plus another $2/hr. in tips. Plus free food and coffee. I made about $10/hr. for specialty sales work, which included lots of free food at some nice places.

  • ||

    "Liberals pick on Starbucks for the same reason they pick on Wall-Mart, because ordinary surfs (sic) go there"
    Not true, though the inability to understand an opposing argument is telling. People, liberal and conservative (though not GOPers), hate Walmart and Starbucks for their homogenizing effect on individualism. People further )or primarily?) hate Walmart because it externalizes many of its costs on the Communities which it serves. I hate Starbucks because I can't stand the people who try to look sophisticated there, its a vanity scene, but we have to realize that Starbucks doesn't underpay or abuse their coffeemakers. That line of attack is simply not credible. And no, "regular folks" don't pay $4 for a cup of overroasted coffee.

  • ||

    Lamar: I hate Starbucks because I can't stand the people who try to look sophisticated there, its a vanity scene,...

    It's just people being people. Hell, read some of this stuff.

  • ||

    Don Coyote:
    I'm sure they can't stand me as well. I'm really just trying to distinguish between snobbery/taste (I'm too cool for Starbucks and Clonemart) and broader concerns about what is arguably a costly business model (Walmart, but not Starbucks to my knowledge).

  • Shannon Love||

    Lamar,

    ...hate Walmart and Starbucks for their homogenizing effect on individualism.

    Goddamn, I never thought of it that way! Here I thought I was buying toilet paper when in reality I am defining my individuality. How could I have been so naive?

    That's it! From now on I am only buying locally handcrafted toilet paper custom made for me from own design. Take that you corporate bastards!

  • ||

    Oh, one other thing: I'm a paying subscriber. I have a right to complain about this!

    as a paying subscriber as well i do not feel you have to be one in order to complain...

  • ||

    joe,
    Good to see you getting some use out of those musty history books. Personally, I think the truth lies in the middle: broad public support, anti-union, pro-gov't-as-union, pro-corporate. So rather than the unions being private organizations, in fascism it becomes part of the state.

    Either way, if unions didn't act more for-profit organizations (and often more like organized crime) then my complaints about them would dwindle considerably. The fact unions often hide behind "non-profit" status simply shows how easy it is to be a corrupt non-profit.

  • ||

    Ayn Randian,
    there's nothing strictly innacurate about her numbers. You can call them misleading, if you like, but when she says the "average" is 35K for hourly workers, that probably means the mean, which isn't all that unbelievable considering that until you become a manager of some sort.

    This is wrong. It is strictly inaccurate. The $35,294 number is the average annual salary of the "most common full-time hourly employee position" which according to the Fortune Magazine article* it was pulled from is not the barista but rather a "Coordinator II" which is an office position. Part-time employees, including baristas, do not qualify for the Fortune Magazine's listings. It is NOT the mean, median or average of the entirety of the hourly employee workforce.

    *The 2005 article is no longer availble online, the 2006 article lists the same job position but the average salary for this position has dropped by about $200.

  • ||

    Those earnings are wrong. In NYC baristas make $8.25/hour and are not permitted to work 40 hours/week. Say you have someone working 39 hours/week, with 2 weeks/year accumulated vacation time: 8.25*39*52 = $16,731 a year, not $35K. And that's before they contribute to their own health plans.

    If you want to be picky, add in an extra $12/week for the 'free' coffee.

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