Skip to main content

Justice at Starbucks: A Call for Campus Activists

A Campus Campaign for Starbucks Baristas and Coffee Farmers

Friends:

This is a call for activists towards a campus campaign to achieve dignity on the job for Starbucks baristas and coffee farmers.

Despite its attempt to create a socially responsible image, Starbucks' failure to meaningfully embrace Fair Trade coffee has left coffee farmers and their children teetering on the brink of starvation in the Global South. A new documentary, Black Gold (www.blackgoldmovie.com), reveals in detail the pained existence of coffee farmers under the purchasing practices of Starbucks and other multinational corporations.

In Starbucks cafes, baristas are paid a poverty wage and the company insures a lower percentage of employees than Wal-Mart. Starbucks baristas are organizing a union (www.starbucksunion.org) with the Industrial Workers of the World for a better life on and off the job. In response, the company has waged a fierce and relentless anti-union campaign that tramples on workers' rights. In this union-busting operation unburdened by the law, Starbucks routinely retaliates against baristas for supporting the union. In addition, Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz recently broke the union of roasting plant employees.

Coffee farmers and baristas need solidarity from students and workers to rein in Starbucks. Starbucks does not deserve to operate on campuses until it respects the rights of workers.

To that end, the IWW Starbucks Workers Union is forming a coalition of individuals and groups over the summer to launch a campaign in the fall to remove Starbucks products and non-union Starbucks-licensed cafes from campus unless Starbucks makes a non-token commitment to Fair Trade and respects the right of baristas to organize a union. Campus communities will also support workers in their local area organizing for justice at Starbucks.

If you or your group is interested in getting involved with the campaign on the ground floor please contact IWW organizer and Starbucks barista Daniel Gross at dgross@iww.org or 917-577-1110. Together we will show that global solidarity is stronger than the greed of the multinational corporations.