NEWS GLEAMS | Starbucks Pushes to Suspend Union Elections Nationwide, Community Storytelling Series in the CID

A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!

curated by Vee Hua 華婷婷

🖋️ Letter From the Editor 🖋️

Starbucks strikes continue to make local and national news, including their current request for the National Labor Relations Board to suspend union elections at all of its U.S. stores.

In continued coverage of safety concerns around transit, we share news of a developing story around a death at Mount Baker Station.

A community storytelling series will also be presented at Hing Hay Park, featuring Yuko Kodama, Anne Xuan Clarke, Christina Shimizu, Norma Timbang, and Luzviminda (Lulu) Carpenter.

—Vee Hua 華婷婷, interim managing editor for the South Seattle Emerald

✨Gleaming This Week✨

Starbucks workers rally and march in Seattle, Washington. Photo is attributed to Elliot Stoller (under a Creative Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0 license).

Starbucks Asks Labor Board to Suspend Union Elections at Its U.S. Stores

On Aug. 15, Starbucks asked the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to temporarily suspend all union elections at all of its U.S. stores. In a 16-page letter, they alleged that NLRB personnel secretly worked with union organizers in the Kansas City area to exploit weaknesses in a mail-in ballot system, to unfairly influence unionization votes of one of their stores earlier this year.

“The store is one of 314 U.S. Starbucks locations where workers have petitioned the NLRB to hold union elections since late last year. More than 220 of those stores have voted to unionize. The company opposes the unionization effort,” reports the Associated Press. “The Seattle coffee giant alleges that St. Louis labor board officials made special arrangements for pro-union workers to vote in person at its office when they did not receive mail-in ballots, even though Starbucks and the union had agreed that store elections would be handled by mail-in ballot.”

This comes after Starbucks recently announced the closure of six stores in the Seattle area — with five in Seattle and one in Everett — citing “personal safety, racism, lack of access to health care, a growing mental health crisis, rising drug use and more.” According to Workers United, 30% of those stores slated to close were unionized, organizing, or petitioning to form a union. Among the stores which closed was the one at 23rd Avenue South and South Jackson Street in Seattle’s Central District.

Strike organizers believe that such store closures and the suspension of union elections are acts of retaliation for worker unionization efforts. As of Aug. 15, according to Starbucks Workers United, over 200 Starbucks stores have been unionized, with over 10,600 supporters.

Mount Baker Station light rail platform. Photo is attributed to Oran Viriyincy (under a Creative Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0 license).

Woman Killed After Falling From Light Rail Platform at Mount Baker Station

According to the Seattle Police Department Blotter, a 911 caller reported at 1:45 p.m. that a pedestrian had been hit by a light rail train at Mount Baker Station. The case is under investigation; SPD’s Traffic Collision Investigation Squad responded to process the scene.

“Seattle Fire Department medics responded and declared the 39-year-old woman deceased after extricating her from between the light rail car and the station platform,” SPD writes. “According to witnesses, the woman appeared to stumble and fall off the platform, colliding with the moving light rail train.”

Community stories will be presented at Hing Hay Park, in collaboration with InterIm CDA and the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation. (Photo: Jaidev Vella)

Talk-Story Presents Powerful Community Stories of Movement-Building

InterIm CDA and the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation will be hosting a Talk-Story series with powerful leaders with connections to the Chinatown-International District. In their fifth year of this series, community members will be sharing personal stories of building movements, reporting events, and securing the community and the future of civil rights.

Bring your lunch and join them at Hing Hay Park Pavilion throughout the next month! Details can be found on Wing Luke Museum’s Events Calendar.

Aug. 17 — Yuko Kodama

Yuko has been the News and Public Affairs director at KBCS, a public radio station in the Seattle area. She has covered stories affecting the Asian and Pacific Islander communities for several decades, taking radio into the realm of direct education. Her recent project took her to Heart Mountain to capture stories for the upcoming curriculum on the Japanese American Incarceration.

Aug. 24 — Anne Xuan Clarke

Anne was a founding mother of the Asian Lesbian and Bisexual Alliance. Founded in the 1990s, ALBA was in many ways a refuge and a place of teaching and advocacy. Their work inspired other young Queer activists to form bonds with each other. The impact of their work lives on.

 Aug. 31 — Christina Shimizu

Currently the codirector of Puget Sound Sage, Chrissy is skilled in getting others to understand the intersections of social movements. She played a role in the organizing of the Black Lives Matter protests following the murder of Mr. George Floyd. She and her compatriot will be discussing the impact of those uprisings and where they see the efforts stand today.

Sept. 7 — Norma Timbang

Norma is a former executive director of API Chaya. Norma has worked with many organizations on the local, national and international levels, including the National Queer Asian and Pacific Islander Alliance, International Community Health Services, and New Beginnings among others.

Sept. 14 — Luzviminda (Lulu) Carpenter!

Lulu has been a critical voice in our community, where she has honed her passion and skills for youth and young adult advocacy and empowerment, economic justice, and mentorship. She has worked as a radio producer, school teacher, vocal storytelling advocate, and more. She has worked with and for many women and youth organizations.

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