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Union Organizer to Stand Trial in RNC Case

Daniel Gross, a co-founder of the IWW Starbucks Workers Union and an employee at the company, is set to stand trial for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest at a Republican National Convention protest. Gross participated in a peaceful union rally in front of the Starbucks store where he works to protest the Bush Administration’s support for anti-union actions at the world’s largest coffee chain. He faces a maximum sentence of over six months in jail. The union is asking its friends and allies to attend the trial in support of the right to protest. The trial will begin on January 14 at 9:30 a.m. in Part C of the 100 Centre Street Courthouse in Downtown Manhattan.

“Once again, Starbucks has proven it will do or say anything to attempt to break our union,” Mr. Gross said.

“Chairman Howard Schultz will likely use a conviction against me as a fear-tactic to deter workers from joining the IWW to improve their life on the job. Multiple videotapes as well as eyewitness testimony will demonstrate that NYPD officers concocted these charges against me- a New York City jury will no doubt see through the Bush/Bloomberg hype that prevailed during the Republican National Convention.”

The only attendees arrested at the protest were both union workers at the store. Prosecutors later dropped charges against Starbucks barista Anthony Polanco, an outspoken supporter of the organizing effort. Company managers were witnessed giving information to NYPD detectives before the protest began. Starbucks has a history of making false allegations about IWW rallies in New York City.

“Daniel Gross is being prosecuted for political reasons,” maintained his attorney Leonard Weinglass, a noted advocate for controversial defendants. The DA and the NYPD are desecrating the right to assembly guaranteed by the First Amendment.”

Hundreds of people have already signed a petition demanding that the District Attorney drop all charges against Gross. Support has come from overseas as well. Last Saturday, union members in Edinburgh and Glasgow demonstrated at Starbucks shops in solidarity with the Starbucks Workers Union and Mr. Gross.
The Union has called for all charges to be dropped against RNC protesters.

Starbucks workers in New York City have sparked a national campaign to organize the chain. Workers are coming together to rise out of poverty, put an end to understaffing, and achieve a guaranteed number of work hours per week.

The Industrial Workers of the World IU/660 is a non-partisan union of retail workers fighting for dignified employment conditions in the industry.

For a good commentary about the issue check out Liberal Patriots...couldn't have said it better myself.


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