Gimme! Coffee has undergone a months long arbitration process after demoting Lead Barista Rebecca Lespier after an allegedly-racist post. While the verdict the arbitration is yet to be released, the case has caused a divide between the cafe’s baristas.
Renters across the country face a particular set of burdens unique in how close they are to home. Tenants face difficulty maintaining their homes, as they rely on landlords to carry out refurbishment and repairs, which the landlords have little incentive to do in a timely fashion. Secondly, not owning one’s house naturally creates instability, as there is little guarantee of where to call home from one year to the next. Finally, the rent is too damn high. In Ithaca, a striking 73% of households are renters, compared to 44% nationwide.
“Scabby the Rats’ owners are the Upstate New York Operating Engineers Local 158 Union, who let him loose in an attempt to engage the University about how LRS Excavating, the subcontractor conducting the excavation of the North Campus Residential Expansion, may be paying its workers substandard wages.
Armed with signs, chants and plenty of free coffee, employees of Gimme! Coffee gathered last Friday outside the Cayuga Street store of the famous coffee shop chain to protest what they contend to be the wrongful demotion of an employee.
Asking “Does Cornell Care?”, a local union group of construction workers has created an online petition which calls upon the university to require that local skilled trade’s workers, companies and vendors complete the construction on any future student housing project.
The following letter was sent to Cornell President Martha Pollack on September 6, 2017:
Dear President Pollack:
Labor Day provides an important moment to reflect on the rights of employees, including on the Cornell campus. As you know, in March 2017, Cornell graduate employees voted on whether to be represented by the Cornell Graduate Students United in collective bargaining with Cornell. The election results were close, with 856 votes for union representation, 919 votes against union representation and 81 ballots not yet counted due to questions about voter eligibility. At this point, therefore, the final outcome of that election remains uncertain. According to the Cornell Graduate School, it is expected that a final tally would maintain the majority “no” vote.
As faculty members in the Cornell University ILR School, we are deeply concerned about the conduct of the Cornell administration on March 26, the eve of the Cornell Graduate Students United election and on March 27, the first day of voting in the election. On both days, Cornell’s Senior Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School Barbara Knuth sent emails to thousands of Cornell graduate students with messages that interfered with graduate employees’ ability to freely exercise their rights to choose whether to be represented by the CGSU. In raising our concerns about Dean Knuth’s conduct, we draw on our expertise and experience in the field of labor law, labor relations and labor rights. Under the National Labor Relations Act, it is unlawful for an employer to make statements that would have the tendency to “interfere with, restrain or coerce” employees in exercising their rights to choose whether to unionize. Unlawful coercive statements by employer representatives include explicit or implicit threats that the employer may cut back on jobs if employees vote for a union.