Today’s strike by a handful of Starbucks workers in Auckland is believed to the first in the Seattle based chain’s history.
Organised by Matt McCarten’s “Unite” union, a few Auckland workers will be downing pinnies and steam wands today in support of wage demands.
McCarten’s Marxist controlled union has deliberately targeted low paid workers in largely non unionised areas such fast food outlets, service stations and movie theatres.
By June this year Unite had signed up significant numbers of members in targeted workplaces.
“1000 Auckland restaurant workers from McDonalds (500), KFC (300), Starbucks (90) and Pizza Hut (80) joined the new Unite campaign for decent pay and working conditions for restaurant workers. These workers along with the 300 Burger King workers and 35 Denny’s workers will be part of a push for collective employment agreements at job sites. Over the past month recruitment has tripled the numbers of workers involved in the campaign to 1300… Unite Website
Since falling out with the Alliance and then the Maori Party, McCarten has been working with the the Socialist Workers Organisation, The Socialist Party of Aotearoa and other Marxist groups to form a new “working class” political movement.
Unite’s aggressive push to build membership and support in low paid industries, where the public has some sympathy with the workers pay levels, may go some way to aiding McCarten’s ambitions.