Thousands of Starbucks workers strike on one of chain’s busiest days. Senate issues damning report on “excessive” gynecological procedures on ICE detainees. Iran security forces kill boys, 9 and 14, in protest crackdown.
Thousands of Starbucks workers strike on one of chain’s busiest days
Today, more than 1,000 union Starbucks workers went on strike at over 100 stores in 25 states. Since late last year, about 260 of Starbucks’ 9000 nationwide locations have voted to unionize. The union Starbucks Workers United (SWU) has formed more new unions in a 12-month period than any US company in the last 20 years. SWU now represents around 7000 workers. Today’s picketing was the largest nationally coordinated labor action by the union since the labor organizing campaign began.
The strikes coincided with Starbucks’ annual Red Cup Day, usually one of the chain’s busiest days of the year. On Red Cup Day, Starbucks locations hand out free reusable cups to customers who order holiday drinks. The cups are also considered collectibles, and Starbucks stores often have trouble staffing on Red Cup Day due to the higher demand. Strikers instead handed out their own red cups with union logos.
SWU says the strike is a “response to Starbucks’ union-busting tactics and refusal to bargain” with union stores. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is openly hostile to unionizing efforts and has adopted illegal union-busting tactics according to the National Labor Relations Board. In the past year, the NLRB has issued 39 official complaints against Starbucks. These complaints include over 900 alleged violations of federal labor law, according SWU.
Pro-labor Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) expressed solidarity with striking workers on Twitter today. “I’m proud to stand with Starbucks workers on strike today across the country. CEO Howard Schultz is illegally union busting and firing workers for organizing. Mr. Schultz, it is time to recognize the stores that unionized and negotiate with workers in good faith,” Sanders wrote.
Senate issues damning report on “excessive” gynecological procedures on ICE detainees
The Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) of the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has reported the findings of its investigation into whistleblower complaints regarding an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility in Irwin County, GA. In 2020, nurse Dawn Wooten, who used to work at the facility, blew the whistle on excessive gynecological procedures performed on detainees, often without informed consent.
The Irwin County Detention Center contracted with Dr. Mahendra Amin, who holds no board certifications. Wooten learned that Amin had been performing high numbers of hysterectomies and other invasive and life altering procedures on ICDC detainees. Many of these women spoke no English and did not understand what had been done to them.
The PSI report says, “ICDC housed roughly 4% of female ICE detainees nationwide from 2017 to 2020. Dr. Amin accounted for roughly 6.5% of total OB-GYN visits among all ICE detainees in the same time period. However, he performed nearly one-third of certain OB-GYN procedures on ICE detainees across the country between 2017 and 2020 and more than 90% of some key procedures”.
PSI committee chair and Georgia Senator John Ossoff said of the report, “This is an extraordinarily disturbing finding, and in my view represents a catastrophic failure to respect basic human rights”.
Dawn Wooten was fired when she tried to report these concerns to her superiors at ICDC. Dr. Amin continues to practice in Georgia, even though he is under criminal investigation, according to the Senate report.
Iran security forces shoot boys, 9 and 14, dead in protest crackdown
Iran’s security forces have been unable to contain weeks of protests over the death of a young woman in the custody of the country’s morality police. The state’s violent and deadly crackdowns on demonstrations seem to have only encouraged more people to join the anti-regime movement. Police have detained at least 16,000 protesters and their online supporters. The courts have recently begun sentencing some of them to death.
Since the protests began in late September, at least 362 protesters, including 56 children, have been killed by security forces. Yesterday, Kian Pirfalak, 9, and Sepehr Maghsoudi, 14, were among seven people killed by live fire during a protest in one city. At least 13 other people were killed at protests elsewhere in Iran that day as well.
What started as a protest against Iran’s restrictive dress codes for women has evolved into a movement bent on ending over 40 years of theocratic rule in Iran. Iran’s government and state media have attempted to downplay the size and significance of the protests. At the same time, they accuse the US, Israel and other Western countries of stoking the protests to bring about regime change.
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