Starbucks fires 7 union organizers in Memphis. Trump denies flushing documents down White House toilet. Russia ups Ukraine tensions.
Starbucks fires 7 union organizers in Memphis
Leaders of a nationwide effort to unionize Starbucks stores are accusing the chain of retaliating against 7 of its organizers at a Memphis location. The company fired 7 employees from its Poplar and Highland store, citing violations of its security policies.
The employees invited a local news team into the store after hours to film a television interview. Starbucks has a policy against employees accessing its facilities after hours. The organizers say that they were unaware of the policy and are accusing the company of selective enforcement as part of its union-busting effort. Most of the employees fired had impeccable work records.
Starbucks Workers United, which is spearheading the nationwide union effort, says it plans to file charges against Starbucks with the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of the Memphis workers. Even after their dismissal, the workers remain committed to the unionization drive. Union organizers are calling for higher wages (at least $15 an hour), better working conditions, and better COVID-19 safety.
Starbucks has fought unionization efforts in its stores, claiming that the company functions better by communicating and negotiating with employees directly. Recently, two Starbucks stores in Buffalo, NY, became the first American Starbucks locations to unionize. This despite the company sending in its top brass to intimidate employees ahead of the union election. Nationwide, employees at another 60 Starbucks stores are pursuing unionization efforts.
Trump denies flushing documents down White House toilet
The National Archives recently turned over a trove of Trump-era White House documents to the Congressional Jan 6. commission. The commission subpoenaed the documents as part of its investigation into what Trump and White House staff knew and when in the lead up to the Capitol riot. National Archives workers said they had to piece together many Trump documents that had been either shredded or ripped apart.
In a new book, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman claims that White House cleaning staff occasionally had to unblock toilets clogged with wads of ripped up documents the former President had tried to flush. After this report surfaced, Trump was quick to refute the claims.
Today a new report has it that the National Archives has asked the Department of Justice to investigate whether Trump violated federal law in the handling of documents.
Russia sends fleet to Black Sea, conducts drills in Belarus
Despite ongoing diplomatic efforts, Russia is ratcheting up military tensions around Ukraine. On Tuesday, the first wave of Russian Navy ships entered the Black Sea en route to Ukrainian waters. These ships may be carrying tanks to be used in a potential invasion of Ukraine. Today, Russian troops began joint military drills in Belarus, which shares a border with Ukraine.
Earlier this week, President Biden vowed a new pipeline carrying natural gas to Germany from Russia would not open if Russia invades Ukraine. Construction on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is already completed, but it has not begun carrying gas. The project is worth billions of dollars a year to Russia. But there is some reluctance about this embargo in Europe, which is largely dependent on Russia for its energy needs.
Volodymyr Omelyan, a former Ukrainian minister for infrastructure, believes that Nord Stream is the lynchpin in Vladimir Putin’s plans for Ukraine. Currently, all of Russia’s pipelines to Europe run through Ukraine, for which Russia has to pay Ukraine usage fees. Nord Stream allows Russia to completely bypass Ukraine to deliver gas to Europe. Omelyan believes that Putin is sure to invade Ukraine if Nord Stream becomes operational.
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