A good article you should check out if you haven’t seen it before:
Liberté Locke, a Starbucks Workers Union organizer, writes about how violence at work and in our personal lives are similar, how domestic abusers and bosses use the same techniques of control and that we need to fight both.
TRIGGER WARNING: sexual violence
I was raped by a boyfriend on August 18th, 2006. The very next day I held back tears while I lied to a stranger over the phone about why I was unavailable to go in that day for a second interview for a job that I desperately needed. When I hung up the phone I saw a new text message. It was from him. “It’s not over. It will never be over between us…”
The next day I went in for the second interview. It was inside of the Sears Tower Starbucks in Chicago. I took the train to the interview constantly looking around me and shaking. I needed work. I had just been fired from Target two weeks prior and had no prospects. I knew I would have to go through a metal detector in order to enter the building so despite every instinct in my body I did not bring a knife with me.
“What would you do if you caught a coworker stealing?”
My mind is racing. I’m thinking that I risked my safety by leaving my house for a stupid job that pays $7.75/hr. Aren’t I worth more than that? Aren’t we all worth so much more?
“I’d tell management right away, of course. I’ve never understood why someone would steal from work…”
I tell them what they want me to.
I started working at Starbucks on August 22, 2006. That was a little over five years ago. Every year we have annual reviews where I generally get to argue with someone younger than me who makes significantly more than do about why my hard work, aching back, cracking hands, sore wrists, the bags under my eyes, the burns, the bruises on my arms, the cuts on my knees, the constant degrading treatment by the customers, the “baby, honey, sugar, bitch”, the “hey, you, slut…I said NO whip cream!”s, the staring, the following after work…I get to argue why all that means I’m worth a 33cent raise rather than 22cents, Degrading for any worker. Degrading especially for a woman worker. Only for me, I get to do this every year just four days after the anniversary of when someone I was in love with raped me. My annual review is truly the only reason I’m reminded of the anniversary of the assault.
I wish I was exaggerating but truthfully I’ve just toned down how I really feel about it. Since we’re talking about labor, I could also mention how when I was raped I didn’t leave the house where it happened until the morning because of two main reasons 1) I feared riding the subway home at 3am and 2) I was getting picked up in the morning by my then best friend (and my boyfriend’s other partner) to head to her wealthy parents’ house in the suburbs where they were paying me to clean. Desperately needing to sell my labor in exchange for simple cash kept me laying awake next to my attacker. Not wanting to lose the gig had me lying to him. Promising that I’d never tell anyone. Promising not to leave him. Promises that at the time I wasn’t sure that I wouldn’t keep.
It was when I was on my hands and knees literally scrubbing the floor of her parents’ house that it occurred to me that being poor was truly enough of an assault.