Starbucks Workers “Come Together” across Supply Chain in Global Action for Justice at Coffee Giant

[news below from the IWW-led Starbucks Workers Union]

Major actions in Seattle and New Zealand (home of Pactiv’s billionaire owner) and 15-20 other locations starting November 25

SEATTLE–Workers at Starbucks and its suppliers and their allies are hitting the streets today and all week to demand that company CEO Howard Schultz practice what he preaches: respect workers at his company and at suppliers. In the wake of a report by 24/7 Wall Street naming Starbucks as one of the top ten American poverty-wage employers, a global day of action on November 25th will unite factory workers who make Starbucks’ trademark cups with baristas across the world who fill the cups with caffeine and sugar concoctions, with actions planned in 15-20 cities. The actions highlight the hypocrisy of CEO Howard Schultz, who has drawn criticism for repeatedly forcing workers to advance his political agenda under the “come together” slogan, while busting unions when his own employees “came together” for a voice on the job, and sourcing from companies that do the same.

“Pactiv in Stockton, CA makes cups and packaging for Starbucks and fast food companies. Starbucks has the power to stop Pactiv from cutting our wages and benefits and threatening our middle class way of life. They need to ensure that all workers at its stores and suppliers are paid a living wage and treated fairly. We are “coming together” to ask Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz for help. And we will keep doing what it takes to defend workers’ rights at Starbucks and its suppliers”, said Casey Freeman, President of the Pactiv Union in Stockton, CA (AWPPW 83).

“Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is part of the problem in America. He gobbled up $28.9 million in pay last year alone while we baristas made less than $9 an hour on average, even though we produced over $1.4 billion in profit for the company. So we’re ‘coming together’ on our own to ask him to spread the wealth- create good jobs at Starbucks and insist on fairness at its suppliers,” said Samantha Cole, a barista and member of the IWW Starbucks Workers Union.

The coalition unites the manufacturing workers at Pactiv who make Starbucks cups in Stockton and are fighting cuts to pay and benefits along with Chilean baristas who recently struck to bring Starbucks into compliance with collective bargaining law, and US baristas who are demanding fair pay, consistent scheduling, and an end to understaffing at the chain. The workers are members of four different independent unions and a workers’ center- the Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers (AWPPW), Sindicato de Starbucks Chile, the IWW Starbucks Workers Union.

“We have a message for the American people. The corporate elites who led us into the economic crisis of the past six years will not be the people who will lead us back out. We need to come together as workers, for workers, to fight for a better life for everyone,” said Greg Jones with the AWPPW. “Our movement is growing. This is just the beginning.”,