Bellingham Starbucks Union Organizer Fired!


Sehome starbucks strike sign.
Gwen Williamson, on the right, at the Starbucks Workers United strike on November at the Sehome Starbucks.
On February 17th, Sehome Starbucks union organizer Gwen Williamson was cruelly fired by Starbucks bosses when she had to call out of work due to a housing emergency. This is an inhuman way to treat anyone, but we are gettng really used to this behavior from Starbucks Inc. There is a GoFundMe to try to alleviate some of her financial stress. Please share this link  however you feel is best to get the word out and help this worker out.
Here is Gwen’s account:
“Hello everyone, my name is Gwen. I have worked an accumulative 3 years at Starbucks as a Shift Supervisor, and over the past 5 months I’ve operated as the front runner for the Sehome Union. Recently, I went through an extremely difficult and financially/emotionally draining life change due to an apartment flood I experienced. My wife, pup, and I had to move from a variety of hotels and AirBnB’s, paying out of our own pocket while an inefficient property management company refused to adequately address our issues and concerns in a timely manner. They lied to us about there being no asbestos risk and put our health at risk in the process. Due to this event, I had to call out of several shifts and spend every waking moment looking for other short and long term living situations, and it was these callouts that Starbucks used as justification for firing me.
While still being in a deep, unstable hole of debt from the previous situation, a situation (Starbucks) management was well aware of, they decided that it was at this point that I should be removed from the company. As a trans woman who was already having her hours cut, I desperately relied on the health insurance offered through my employment, and now I have huge concerns about being able to afford basic necessities and bills on top of worrying about gender affirming care. My separation from the company was unjust, and it is evident that it was retaliatory since early on in the unionization process I was outed as the leader.
Please consider donating and/or spreading the word to help me stay afloat during two back to back critical life emergencies. I hope to be able to stay on top of bills and necessities long enough for Union lawyers to help me seek justice for this situation. Thank you.
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Picket line at Mount Baker Roofing in Bellingham- an update

Around 20 roofers at Mount baker Roofing company called a work stoppage this morning. The picket line was at the company’s offices but the workers were from the MB Roofing shop in Skagit county.

Yesterday, a group of workers presented a demand to the Skagit manager to follow state health and safety rules, and to provide toilets, drinking water, and legal work breaks. The five workers who presented the letter were fired. The picket today was to pressure the bosses to provide those things, and also to reinstate the fired workers- it is illegal to fire workers for protesting working conditions, but as we probably all know, the law isn’t always enforced in the interest of the working class.

There were around 50 people on the picket line at 6 AM today. Dark and cold- where’s are the burn barrels? There were workers from the roofing company, and supporters from Community 2 Community, Familias Unidas por la Justicia [our good friends, the farmworkers union in Skagit County], IWW, and a few individuals from UFCW, Teamsters, and the firefighters union. [Sorry if we left anyone out].

We lined the sides of the entrance road with our signs. It was heartening to hear honks from trucks passing by on the freeway and along Pacific Highway. The picket ended at around 9, not long after the sun came up to warm our bones, to consider the owner’s response and to decide next steps.

To stay informed, write and ask to be on our Solidarity Alert email list. You’ll get alerts about solidarity actions you can participate in, and updates on local IWW activity. Maybe 2-3 emails a month, and its easy to unsubscribe.

The IWW Today- a presentation at Village Books Feb 15, 7PM

An IWW member from Bellingham presents ‘The IWW Today’ at Village Books.
Register in advance to reserve a seat [its free]:
This talk will explain how the IWW works in North America and elsewhere today, with examples of some of our union campaigns. We’ll have a literature table.
TIO 2nd edition cover 0.25
Think it Over! Join the IWW!

IWW Events in Bellingham

Cold MillionsHave you read the novel Cold Millions by Jess Walter? It is set in Spokane during the 1909 IWW Free Speech fight. The book is the Whatcom County Library’s selection for this winter. It is a national bestseller and:

“A Best Book of the Year: Bloomberg | Boston Globe | Chicago Public Library Chicago Tribune Esquire | Kirkus New York Public Library | New York Times Book Review (Historical Fiction) | NPR’s Fresh Air O Magazine | Washington Post | Publishers Weekly | Seattle Times | USA Today 

A Library Reads Pick | An Indie Next Pick”

Check out these events! Because the book deals extensively with the IWW, a number of events IWW-related events are coming up around here:

February 15- an IWW member from Bellingham presents ‘The IWW Today’ at Village Books. You have to register [Free] to attend. As a counterpoint to all the historical stuff brought up in the book, this talk will explain how the IWW works in North America and elsewhere today, with examples of some of our union campaigns. We’ll have a literature table.
February 25th- Songs of Protest– in Deming.  sung by Jimmy Brite from Glacier.
March 2- A live on-stage interview with Jess Walter for Chuckanut Radio Hour. Interviewer is Dave Tucker, secretary of the Whatcom-Skagit IWW branch. Questions about the writing of the book. Should be fun. You must RESERVE A SEAT- $5!

March 3- Jess Walter discusses his book at the Mount Baker Theater. No registration, just show up.
STAY IN THE LOOP! You may be interested in upcoming events about the IWW. If you would like to be on our ‘solidarity alert’ email list write us at and we will add you. We send notices about local strikes and picket lines, events like the above.

Contribute to the IWW Monument in Centralia, WA

Friends and Fellow Workers!

Centralia Gofundme title image 2023-01-19

Contribute to our GoFundMe here:

The IWW is purchasing and installing a monument in Centralia, Washington to commemorate and honor the Wobblies who died or were imprisoned following the ‘Centralia Tragedy’ of November 11, 1919. On that day, the IWW union hall was attacked for the second time by a mob of American Legion men acting on behalf of the city’s business interests. Armed union members defended their hall. Four legionnaires were killed, a Wob, Wesley Everest, was lynched, and nine others went to prison after a sham trial that is widely regarded as a severe miscarriage of justice. Since 1919 the Tragedy’s history has been falsely told by the aggressors, who purchased their monument in Washington Park shortly after the Tragedy. After years of effort, the Centralia City Council has agreed to the IWW monument design. It will be in the park next to the Legion’s. All expenses are on the IWW. Help us purchase the 2×3′ bronze plaque, mounted on a boulder, and get it installed. The Whatcom-Skagit General Membership Branch of the IWW in Bellingham, Washington will hold the funds.

 If you would rather make a contribution by check, donations can be made to order of ‘IWW Monument fund’ and mailed to:

Whatcom-Skagit Branch, IWW
Box 192
Bellingham, WA 98227

IWW Centralia Committee

Starbucks Workers United Strike in Bellingham

Shuts down three stores all weekend

Union workers at Bellingham Starbucks stores at Sehome Village, Cordata, and Iowa & King struck all weekend, and kept the three stores closed. Pickets from other organizations, including IWW of course, showed up to add to the picket line. Starbucks corporate made no effort to open the stores.

The strike was a nationwide protest by Starbucks Workers United to protest continued corporate shutdown of union storesacross the country. Over 1000 Starbucks workers [I’m sorry just can’t call them ‘partners’ anymore] at 100 stores participated in the strike.

So far, Starbucks management has made no good faith attempt to bargain with the union. So much for ‘progressive’ business. Capitalism is just that; you can’t successfully window dress it because it is by its nature exploitative.


Friends and fellow workers,
The campaign to raise funds for the MONUMENT TO THE IWW VICTIMS OF THE 1919 CENTRALIA TRAGEDY is underway.

Please contribute here.

An ad hoc committee of Wobblies from around the Northwest are working to raise funds for an IWW monument in Centralia Washington. We want to tell our side of the story- that many union members were victims of this tragic confrontation. After years of effort by a local Wob, the town’s City Council voted in October to permit our design. We will be responsible for all expenses, including installation of the monument. The Whatcom-Skagit IWW Branch has agreed to hold the funds until we raise enough to purchase the 2×3 foot bronze plaque. It will most likely be mounted on a boulder we will have to purchase and transport to the park.

The ‘Centralia Committee’ will periodically report on the progress of this project.
The IWW monument will be right beside the statue memorializing the American Legion put up in the early 1920s called The Sentinel. [check the link, its instructive]. The Legion is the outfit who attacked the union hall as proxies for the city’s employing class.


Students employed by Western Washington University have formed a new union, unionized as Western Academic Workers United, affiliated with the United Auto Workers. A large majority of graduate and undergraduate student employees who do research or instructional work filed for union recognition on December 2 with the Washington Public Employment Relations Commission. The Union hopes there will voluntary recognition by the powers that be, rather than forcing the unnecessary delay of an NLRB election.

Learn more at the WAWU website:

Members will not pay union dues until a contract is negotiated.

The Whatcom-Skagit IWW sent solidarity greetings, and will be there in solidarity if and when called upon. We have a number of WWU student members of our union.

Sehome Starbucks votes UNION- YES!

Baristas at the Starbucks in Sehome Village just voted to join Starbucks Workers United. The vote was 15-6. A small group of Starbucks workers from the three union stores as well as some Wobblies milled around outside waiting for the for the vote tally, which was announced at 6:25 PM.

Three down, two stores to go. Will they unionize too?

Congratulations to Bellingham’s newest Union Shop, and Solidarity forever!