For most of us, Martin Luther King Jr. day is considered a holiday. But not for Starbucks workers, who up until this year didn’t receive holiday pay for working on MLK Day. The Industrial Workers of the World Starbucks Workers Union spent three years lobbying to get Starbucks employees time and a half on the holiday — and this year they got what they wanted.
And as is often the case, the company was loathe to give the union any credit in adding Martin Luther King Jr. Day to the list of company-approved holidays. Actually, said spokesperson Stacey Krum, “in November we announced we were adding M.L.K. Day as a holiday. It is one of the most requested by our partners.”
But just because the union got their way on MLK Day didn’t mean that they were about to give up the fight. The group of 40 or so protesters started at the Union Square East Starbucks before moving to the Union Square West store. The unruly band of baristas then moved south to the Astor Place location, where a glut of workers presented a list of demands, including a $1-an-hour raise, “fair performance reviews,” and a monthly worker-run meeting to air problems and share ideas. [City Room/NYT]