Solidarity Unionism at Starbucks

Combining history and theory with the groundbreaking practice of the model by Starbucks workers, Lynd and Gross make a compelling case for solidarity unionism as an effective approach to winning a voice on the job.

Legendary legal scholar Staughton Lynd teams up with influential labor organizer Daniel Gross in this exposition on solidarity unionism, the do-it-yourself workplace organizing system that is rapidly gaining prominence around the country and around the world. Lynd and Gross make the audacious argument that workers themselves on the shop floor, not outside union officials, are the real hope for labor’s future. Utilizing the principles of solidarity unionism, any group of co-workers, like the workers at Starbucks, can start building an organization to win an independent voice at work without waiting for a traditional trade union to come and “organize” them. Indeed, in a leaked recording of a conference call, the nation’s most prominent union-busting lobbyist coined a term, “the Starbucks problem,” as a warning to business executives about the risk of working people organizing themselves and taking direct action to improve issues at work.
Combining history and theory with the groundbreaking practice of the model by Starbucks workers, Lynd and Gross make a compelling case for solidarity unionism as an effective, resilient, and deeply democratic approach to winning a voice on the job and in society.

Staughton Lynd practiced employment law as a Legal Services attorney in Youngstown, Ohio. He is the author of Solidarity Unionism and editor of We Are All Leaders: The Alternative Unionism of the Early 1930s. He and his wife Alice Lynd edited Rank and File and The New Rank and File.

Daniel Gross began working for Starbucks in 2003. He helped to organize the IWW Starbucks Workers Union (SWU), founded on May 17, 2004. In 2006, Daniel was fired after taking part in a picket line protest. The National Labor Relations Board has recently found his discharge to be an unfair labor practice. He is the co-author with Staughton Lynd of Labor Law for the Rank and Filer: Building Solidarity While Staying Clear of the Law (PM Press)

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