First summarize in a paragraph those aspects of the story you want to highlight. The article being highlighted is “Starbucks Fired Memphis Workers Involved in Union Organizing” . Then lay out an argument that connects the present with the past, discussing any material from the course that has given you insights into the contemporary meaning and historical background of the news event in question. All materials that can be used have been provided.
2 page report.
Capitalism and Class
Due March 16
The two-page report works in the following fashion. Find a newspaper article or
reputable blog post on a current issue relevant to this course. The article you will be
writing the report on is “Starbucks Fires Memphis Workers.”
Write a two-page report that does the following. First summarize in a paragraph those
aspects of the story you want to highlight. Then lay out an argument that connects the
present with the past, discussing any material from the course that has given you
insights into the contemporary meaning and historical background of the news event in
For example, if you are boning up on the history of the United Farm Workers Union, then how
does that inform your understanding of why First Lady Jill Biden chose to visit the headquarters
of a small and struggling union? Or if you are reading about the fissured workplace, then what
does this say about a news article entitled “The Fast-Food Model Lets Corporations Escape
Liability?” Likewise, some of the readings and lectures in the course that discuss why wages
have stagnated in recent decades could inform a news report entitled “Most Kroger Workers are
Include only sources from class, that have been provided.
Put a title on your two-page report! It should announce your topic and point of view like a banner
or picket sign or leaflet. Examples: “Is Amazon the Second Coming of U.S. Steel?” or “The Heirs
of Cesar Chavez,” or “Starbucks Against Free Speech.”
Starbucks Fires Memphis Workers Involved in Union Organizing: [Business/Financial Desk]
New York Times
, Late Edition (East Coast); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]. 09 Feb 2022: B.4.
A company spokesman said the workers had violated several policies. The union organizing stores accused Starbucks of retaliation.
Starbucks on Tuesday fired seven employees in Memphis who were seeking to unionize their store, one of several dozen nationwide where workers have filed for union elections since December.
A Starbucks spokesman said the employees had violated company safety and security policies. The union seeking to organize the store accused Starbucks of retaliating against the workers for their labor activities.
The firings relate at least in part to an interview that workers conducted at the store with a local media outlet.
Reggie Borges, a company spokesman, said in an email that Starbucks fired the workers after an investigation revealed violations. He cited a photograph on Twitter showing that store employees had allowed media representatives inside the store to conduct interviews, in which some of the employees were unmasked and which he said had taken place after hours. “That is a clear policy violation, not to mention the lack of masks,” Mr. Borges wrote.
Among the violations, Mr. Borges said, were opening a locked door at their store; remaining inside the store without authorization after it had closed; allowing other unauthorized individuals inside the store after it had closed; and allowing unauthorized individuals in parts of the store where access is typically restricted.
He also wrote that one employee had opened a store safe when the employee was not authorized to do so and that another employee had failed to step in to prevent this violation.
Two of the terminated employees said that some of the supposed violations were common practices at the store and that employees were not previously disciplined over them. They said, for example, that off-duty employees frequently went to the back of the store to check their schedules, which are posted there. Mr. Borges said that this was uncommon when a store is closed.
One of the former workers, Beto Sanchez, said he was the employee accused of opening a store safe without authorization. He said that as a shift supervisor, he was normally authorized to open the safe and that he had done so to help a colleague on the evening of the media interview, when he was not on duty. He wondered why he had been fired over the violation rather than disciplined some other way.
Starbucks Workers United, the union that represents workers at two stores in Buffalo and that is helping to unionize Starbucks workers across the country, filed unfair labor practice charges over the firings and said in a statement that “Starbucks chose to selectively enforce policies that have not previously been consistently enforced as a pretext to fire union leaders.”
The union said on Twitter that the company was
The Rise and Fall of Finance and the End of the Society of Organizations
Author(s): Gerald F. Davis
Source: Academy of Management Perspectives, Vol. 23, No. 3 (Aug., 2009), pp. 27-44
Published by: Academy of Management
Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/27747524
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2009 Davis 27
The Rise and Fall of Finance and the End of the
Society of Organizations
by Gerald F. Davis
Large corporations were a dominant force in American society for generations through their employment
practices, expansion choices, and community connections. As the United States has shifted to a postin
dustrial economy, however, finance has increasingly taken center stage. This article documents shifts in
corporate employment, institutional investment, corporate organization, financial services, governments,
and household ties to financial markets over the past three decades. I argue that all these shifts can be seen
as part of an interconnected movement toward a finance-centered economy, and that the recent economic
downturn can be viewed as one outcome of this broader movement.
The global economic downturn that closed the
first decade of the 21st century revealed the
centrality of finance to American society.
Problems with arcane securities traded by obscure
financial institutions rapidly spun out of control,
potentially putting global capitalism itself at risk.
Like a loose thread that manages to unweave an
entire sweater, the mortgage crisis evolved into a
credit crisis and ultimately into an economic crisis
that is rivaling the Great Depression of the 1930s.
The economic crisis in turn has forced us to grap
ple with the fact that the United States is now a
fully postindustrial economy. By March 2009, more
Americans were unemployed than were employed in
manufacturing, and all signs pointed to further dis
placement in the goods-producing sector.
The disappearance of manufacturing employ
ment has corresponded to another change: large
corporations have lost their place as the central
This article is largely based on my book Managed by the Markets: How
Finance Reshaped America. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2009. 1
thank Garry Brut
Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas, Volume 11, Issue 3
DOI 10.1215/15476715-2687664 © 2014 by Labor and Working-Class History Association
Title VII in Economic-Historical Perspective
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 fully deserves its status as a watershed achievement
in American political and social history, and Title VII merits full marks as a land-
mark in national economic history. Enforcement of Title VII generated major eco-
nomic gains for African Americans, advances that for the most part have been sus-
tained over time. In drawing lessons from this historical record, however, it must be
recognized that the successes reflected a specific set of channels in a particular his-
torical context. The primary driving forces were grass-roots mobilization for racial
justice and pressure from all three branches of the federal government. Most of the
gains were realized in the South, reflecting the low starting point in that region’s
transition from decades of Jim Crow segregation as well as the organizational cohe-
sion descended from the civil rights movement. It is far from clear that the same or
similar approaches can be effective in confronting racial and class inequalities in the
The role of political mobilization was important from the beginning. Early
drafts of the Kennedy administration’s civil rights bill did not even include a fair
employment section, perhaps because the issue was already being addressed by the
President’s Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity (overseeing compliance
by federal contractors under John F. Kennedy’s 1961 executive order) and by voluntary
efforts under the Plans for Progress program launched in the same year. This omis-
sion was reversed in response to vigorous lobbying by several groups allied in the civil
rights coalition. These advocates well understood that progress under existing pro-
grams was painfully slow at best. Although the resulting act prohibited employment
discrimination on the basis of race or color (as well as religion, sex, and national ori-
gin), many contemporary observers expected little of significance from Title VII. Not
only did the text contain glaring loopholes (such as protection for “bona fide” seniority
or merit systems), but the newly created Equal Employment Opportunity Commis-
sion (EEOC) had limited powers of enforcement. Because the EEOC could neither
issue “cease-and-desist” orders nor initiate lawsuits, it was described by discrimination
Downloaded from https://read.dukeupress.edu/labor/article-pdf/11/3/37/437013/LAB113_08_Wright_Fpp.pdf
by University of California Santa Barbara user
on 29 March 2018
expert Michael Sovern in 1966 as a “poor, enfeebled thing . . . [with] the power to con-
ciliate but not to compel.”1
Nonetheless, passage of Title VII had a galvanizing effect on black job seek-
ers. Emboldened by a sense of legal standing (as well as streng
Consuming Lattes and Labor, or Working at
This is an ethnographic portrait of working at one of the most conspicuous components of
the neoliberal order: the upscale looking, fast-food acting coffee chain, Starbucks. Simon
discusses the emotional labors of being a happy and chatty “partner” (employee), the
difficulties of the uneven scheduling, the unexpected physical aspects of the job, and
the culture of conformity at the nation’s largest seller of coffee and affordable luxury.
The essay assesses the corporations’ reputation for being a good employer and
contains extensive interviews with Wobblies trying to organize the chain. It suggests
how workers are consumed by and with the brand in what the author calls “New Age
To serve its nearly 50 million weekly customers, Starbucks employs around
150,000 workers around the world.1 (This doesn’t count the people who grow,
pick, load, and sort the beans at origin.) Most of these women and men either
take money at the cash register or make and serve hot and cold drinks. They
wipe down counters and scrub toilets, mop floors and clean the grout between
the tiles in the bathroom, unpack boxes of cups and haul bags of trash out to
the sidewalk, load CD racks and refill half-and-half dispensers, arrange the
scones in the cases in the morning and wash out the coffee machines and blen-
ders at night. But the jobs entail more than taking money, making drinks, and
The millions––really the middle-class millions––pour into Starbucks every
day for caffeine and milk and sugar fixes, but they don’t just come for the buzz.
They come to Starbucks because the company, in many ways, sells them back
their desires––desires for status, individuality, predictability, and global justice.
Yet nothing is free in the world of money and exchange. Satisfying one
group’s collective desires inevitably costs others. The everyday indulgences
people pay for at Starbucks take something from the environment (all the
cups get burned up or shoved into a landfill), the character of communities (if
every place has a Starbucks, how can you tell one place from another?), and
the minds and bodies of the frontline employees who serve the coffee and
create the company’s comfy couch culture of wish fulfillment and staged authen-
ticity. That is what this article is about: what lattes, what service work in general,
take from the people who make them.
Still, the fact that working at Starbucks has costs doesn’t mean that the job
doesn’t give something back. Let’s get this out of the way. Of course, most
people work at Starbucks for the money and the access to health benefits.
International Labor and Working-Class History
No. 74, Fall 2008, pp. 193–211
# 2008 International Labor and Working-Class History, Inc.
And Starbucks pays okay, if not great. The company pays a bit better than
McDonalds and Wal-Mart, but not as much as the Container Store or UPS.2
National Climate & Environment Education Health Innovations Investigations National Security Obituaries Science
A Rhodes Scholar barista
and the fight to unionize
Months after getting a job at a Starbucks in BuAalo, 24-year-old Jaz Brisack started asking other baristas how they
felt about unionizing. (Libby March for The Washington Post)
By Greg JaAe
Today at 6:00 a.m. EST
BUFFALO — The omicron variant was racing through the Starbucks on
Elmwood Avenue so fast that by early January one-third of the store’s 30-
person workforce was sick or isolating at home.
The worried, angry and exhausted workers who remained had asked Starbucks
for KN95 masks, better protocols to inform them when co-workers tested
positive for the coronavirus, and the right to deny service to customers who
refused to comply with their county’s mask mandate.
Their concerns were no different from those of many of the other 383,000
Starbucks employees stuck laboring through the latest wave of the pandemic.
The Elmwood baristas, though, believed that they had leverage that others
Three weeks earlier, they had voted to become the first unionized Starbucks in
the country, an improbable victory that overcame stiff resistance from the
coffee giant and caught the attention of baristas in Boston, Chicago, Knoxville,
Seattle and Baltimore, who were requesting their own votes, just like the one in
Buffalo. Congratulations were pouring in from the likes of Sen. Bernie Sanders,
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and former labor secretary Robert Reich, who
called their win “a watershed for the biggest coffee seller in the world” and “a
small step on the long trail toward rebalancing such power in America.”
With the virus tearing through their workforce, the baristas were ready to make
their demands. Michelle Eisen, an 11-year veteran of the company, called their
requests the “bare minimum” Starbucks could do to keep them safe. Starbucks
executives countered that the measures in place at their store and all of the
others in the massive chain exceeded the recommendations of the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention. They weren’t going to treat Elmwood
So on a Wednesday morning in early January, just hours after another worker
from the store fell ill, the Elmwood baristas decided to go on strike. There were
a few whispered conversations as the baristas checked to make sure everyone
was on board. A 24-year-old barista named Jaz Brisack, who had been off that
morning, rushed in to pick up a shift so that she could walk out with her co-
A little before 8:30 a.m., they strode quietly past the store’s glass pastry case,
boxes of vanilla bean powder and an industrial-size ice machine to the storage
room where an unsuspecting manager was working.
“Are you all okay?” she asked.
“We’re really not,” Eisen replied.
The baristas were taking off their green aprons. Eisen was listing the names of
the workers from the store who had recently fallen ill
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