Rep. Magaziner promotes PRO Act and seeks to expand union membership nationwide
Recently elected Representative of the United States Seth Magazine held a press conference Thursday morning with local union leaders and ex-union leaders Starbucks Employees who voted for the adoption of Richard L. Trumka Protection of the Right to Association Law (PRO Act) and draw attention to recent anti-union practices at Starbucks.
Representative Magaziner recently helped Congress pass the PRO Act, a sweeping law designed to protect workers’ rights and ensure workers’ ability to collectively bargain for higher wages, better benefits and safer jobs. The bill also includes provisions to hold employers accountable for violations of workers’ rights and to ensure fair union elections without employer interference.
The Economic Policy Institute notes that during “[n]half of all non-union workers say they want a union at their place of work… only 12% of all workers are actually represented by a union.” The PRO Act closes loopholes in current labor law and facilitates the union organizing process as seen here.
“The right to form a union is one of the most fundamental rights for all workers in our country,” said Representative Magaziner. “When workers join together to bargain collectively, they can secure higher wages, better benefits and better working conditions not only for themselves but also for non-union workers.
“That’s how the unions built the middle class in this country.”
The press conference took place outside of Pace Blvd. Starbucks in Warwick, where a union organizing effort by the company was thwarted last year. “Starbucks workers across the country have fought for their right to join a union and have met a wall of harassment and opposition from the company,” said Representative Magaziner.
Cassandra Burke was the organizer of the Starbucks union initiative in Warwick, a union initiative that failed in a tie. Had the PRO Act been law, Warwick Starbucks would probably be unionized today. Burke began his union efforts after hearing about the layoffs and harassment Starbucks workers have endured while unionizing across the country.
Many of these stories have recently been confirmed by a judge reigns that Starbucks had violated federal labor laws “hundreds of times” during a union campaign in Buffalo. According to the National Industrial Relations Committee512 Unfair Labor Practices Charges been filed against Starbucks for the last four years.
“For me, unionization has always been an act of self-defense” said Burke. “You could see how Starbucks treated its union workers on a daily basis, and you knew that if you felt it was profitable, you could be treated the same immediately.”
There were also speakers at the event AFL CIO president George no and AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Patrick Croley.
Can you help Uprise RI?
Funding for our reporting depends on the generosity from readers like you. Our independence allows us to write stories that hold RI state and local government officials accountable. All of our stories are free and available to everyone. But Your support is essential to keep Steve busy and to cover the costs of covering our stories. If you can, please support us. Every contribution, big or small, is so valuable. They provide the motivation and financial support to keep doing what we do. Thank you very much.
Representative Magaziner also mentioned the success Efforts of Seven Stars Bakery workers to form a union.
“Seven Stars Bakery is a much smaller company than Starbucks. They had a union organizing effort last year [and the company] didn’t fight it,” said Representative Magaziner. “It was successful and they are now working with their union on their first contract. So if a much smaller Rhode Island company like Seven Stars can do it, surely a large multinational like Starbucks can handle a unionized workforce.”
The PRO bill passed the House of Representatives last year but failed in the Senate.