Starbucks Twitter campaign hijacked by documentary about Starbucks' union-busting

Filmmaker Robert Greenwald's documentary about sleazy unionbusting at Starbucks debuted the same day as Starbucks new Twitter campaign, so he hijacked the campaign to spread information about Starbucks' bad labor practices.
On a blog post published at the anti-Starbucks website Brave New Films created, people were encouraged to take pictures of themselves in front of Starbucks stores holding signs targeted at the company's "anti-labor practices." These users are then told to upload these photos onto Twitpic and tweet them out to their followers using the hashtags #top3percent and #starbucks. According to the post, these are the official hashtags that were designated by Starbucks itself for those who wanted to enter its contest. Within hours, several people had followed these guidelines and there were dozens of Twitpics in front of stores across the country.

As of this writing, the anti-Starbucks YouTube video has amassed over 30,000 views and was featured on the front page of social news site Digg. Greenwald said that Brave New Films is not done with its offensive against the coffee company, but he was hesitant to reveal his next steps.

Anti-Starbucks filmmakers hijack the coffee company's own Twitter marketing campaign (Thanks, Simon!)


  1. This is the only thing I’ve ever read about Twitter that made me feel like I might be interested in it.

  2. Well here’s a question on consumer choice then– if you’re out somewhere and want a coffee and can’t find a local independent coffee shop, where to go? Is there any coffee chain (national/regional) that treats its workers and growers any better? What choice is there really– other than the obvious one of waiting till you get home and saving your money? I hear so many anti-starbucks messages but what about Pete’s or any of the other chains?

  3. As someone who’s seen friends and acquaintances fired from (Chicago) Starbucks for being members of the IWW Starbucks workers union, I’m glad this is getting the publicity it deserves.

    Thank you Brave New for using corporate PR against itself!

    I think local independent cafe’s would be the way to go. I can’t think of any multinational chain that is union, cooperative, 100% fair trade, etc.

  5. This is indeed a badass tactic, and if Starbucks has been as oppressive towards union proponents as the video claims, they deserve to get pwned. But, for clarity, a note about the Employee Free Choice Act that was mentioned by a couple people in the video: The EFCA represents “Free Choice” in name only. It would actually limit the democratic process as it is currently applied to unionization efforts.

    Under current rules, unionization requires a majority vote of employees. Union reps can collect signatures from employees and if they get 30% or more, the employer can either recognize the union immediately or choose to have a secret ballot election, in which case there is a campaign period where labor and management get to have their say on the idea. Democratic process, yay! The campaign period gives employees a chance to consider both sides of the issue before making a final decision.

    If the EFCA passes, a union would be established automatically the moment the reps collect a 51% majority of employee signatures. Secret ballot elections would only apply if they fail to get a majority to sign. But, and this is a big BUT, union reps can basically say anything they want to get your signature on the petitition: they can promise higher wages, shorter hours, better benefits, your very own pony, etc. — even though these things might never be achieved during negotiations with management. Add to this that everyone (organizers, colleagues and management) will know whether or not you signed a union card, and intimidation and peer pressure come into play as well. Since organizers can promise the world to get your signature, the company has no chance to present its side, and there is no guarantee that each employee will get to express their private opinion on the matter, the new process would unfairly shift the balance towards union organizers and would in fact restrict employees’ ‘free choice’ rather than promote it.

    In a truly progressive company, such as Starbucks likes to portray itself, corporate culture should promote worker happiness and wellbeing to such an extent that a union seems unnecessary — maybe even counterproductive. I work for a progressive non-union company in an industry where most of the competition is unionized. My colleagues and I get better wages, better benefits, more sick time, and generally have better relationships with our supervisors and managers *without* unions than the competition gets *with* them. Now, I am all for unions in cases where management is unfair, unresponsive, abusive, etc. But a union is not a blanket guarantee of better working conditions.

  6. I was sad to have to enter Starbucks for the first time ever earlier this year while staying in a hotel while attending a conference. I couldn’t afford any of the food in the other hotel’s store.

    In response to Uniquack #3, in the city I live (Christchurch, New Zealand) there are plenty of non-chain coffee stores around, and almost all stock fairtrade coffee. The minimum wage in New Zealand is $12 an hour and heaps of people belong to unions, so I am not concerned for their welfare. So at least here in Christchurch there are plenty of other options if you don’t want to go to Starbucks.

  7. Before anyone jumps in and says Starbucks workers should just go “get another job” if they don’t like it, let me toss my two cents in.

    I worked for nearly two years as a barista. The hours were never stable nor steady. They never guaranteed any weekly minimum of hours to anyone but management. I’d work a thirty-hour week, followed by a forty-two-hour week, followed by a twelve hour week, followed by an eighteen-hour week, followed by a twenty-six-hour week, followed by an eight-hour week. I was told that if I wasn’t getting enough hours, then I had to phone other outlets to ask if they needed help, but with so many other local staff in the same boat, those other shifts weren’t so easy to pick up. When my college schedule was changed on me, the Starbucks I worked at wouldn’t find anyone to cover for me so I wrote a letter to my manager, left it on her desk, and cc’ed the Distict Manager and delivered a copy to her. My manager called me up and played dumb, saying she never got her letter.

    When the company toots their horn about offering staff shares in the company, how many workers do they really expect to be able to even be able to afford those shares with hours like I had? So you get a free half-pound of coffee every other week or something, but it’s not like you can pay rent with a bag of coffee beans.

  8. The last time I gave my money to a local coffee shop the wannabe barista daintily tamped my coffee grinds with the force one uses to pet a puppy, pulled a 5.5 second espresso shot, and used milk that had been frothed so little she might as well have just popped in in a microwave and blew bubbles into it with a crazy straw.

    Starbucks coffee may be mediocre, but I know what to expect. You get some pleasant surprises from local places, but more often then not it’s some high school punks hired by a guy who had great intentions about being a famous independent coffee roaster then realized the mortgage on his home was more important.

    Of note is that the aforementioned 5.5 espresso coffee shop roasted its own beans.

  9. Man On Pink Corner:

    The Starbucks Worker’s Union is asking for. . .
    * Increased pay and raises
    * Guaranteed hours with the option of fulltime status
    * An end to under-staffing
    * A healthier and safer workplace
    * Immediate access to co-workers around the country to protect you at work
    * The privileges of an organization that has already won wages increases and a Christmas bonus for workers around the country
    * A role in the movement of retail workers at major corporations organizing for a strong voice on the job

    The IWW charges low dues, has only one paid staff member, and elects all officials. All officials can be recalled and all issues relating to strikes, contracts, elections of officials, charges, etc are voted on by all members. It does not waste worker’s money on political campaigns, unlike some more mainstream unions.

    In the long term a large and strong enough union could lead to general strikes, workers self management, and a radically more democratic economy.

    More information at:

  10. This is a great campaign, camping as it does on the digital back of Starbucks official Twitter feed.

    I find it odd, though, that the apparent stakes are so low, judging by the 165K settlement for the wrongful termination of union workers.

  11. @Uniquack

    The answer isn’t to boycott. It’s to support workers in their struggle. It doesn’t help the workers to not shop at Starbucks, it helps them to cooperate in defending them against attacks by employers.

    The idea that we can fix things by being responsible buyers is just a trick to individualise all struggle, and thereby render it totally ineffective. Corporations have the capacity to bargain as a collective block to exploit workers and consumers. Workers and consumers need to have collectives to balance the equation.

  12. @ #3 Uniquack:

    It’s not this film-maker’s job to investigate everyone. He’s only one guy, and he’s going after the biggest target.

    This is not really about coffee. Starbucks has much more influence than other chains. It doesn’t really make sense to investigate them when they’re struggling to stay afloat anyway. Starbucks open new stores worldwide every day, they could have paid employees with that money.

    Doing investicative journalism is hard. Doubly so when you’re up against a large multinational who earn billions of dollars off the lies and coverups you’re trying to make public.

  13. I hate unions. If I could opt-out of the one at my place of employment, I would. But I can’t.

    They take a small percent of my pay check every pay period. In return, they protect the lazy, the stupid, and the incompetent from being fired at my job. Legitimate grievances are treated equally with grievances about a boss mispronouncing someone’s name. A co-worker has had the same grievance in adjudication for 5 years now. The union constantly asks her to resubmit her paperwork with new evidence and another written request to continue the grievance (for back pay that’s about $10k) rather than settle for $1000. I could negotiate a better raise for myself than what our collective bargaining unit has received, but that’s because it’s not a meritocracy — it’s about the good of ALL workers, lazy and incompetent as well as hard-working and industrious. And when the lay offs come, as we know they will, those in higher titles or who have put in more years can bump those like myself who’ve only been there five years, even if those with seniority have been written up extensively and often work without pay because they take excessive absences. They have the protection of the union. The union does something for them.

    My mother works for a supermarket. Her union sucks just as much, if not more so than mine. The percentage of wages they take from her is higher than my union, and they pretty much ignore the shitty working conditions. She files grievances, they settle with management without actually changing anything — she just receives acknowledgment that her grievance was valid. The problem there is that her union has bigger fish to fry. They’re going after Wal-Mart, and they’ll stop at nothing until they’ve got that golden fleece.

    My father and grandfather were union workers as well. We all have similar stories about the worst workers being protected at the cost of the best. Yes, they get us health care and a pension guaranteed, that’s absolutely a good thing they’ve done. But the blanket protection for all workers, no matter how poor the work ethic or quality, is absolutely intolerable — I could be in a higher job title for higher pay if I didn’t have the union, which says everyone who has a start date before mine — regardless of whether they even show up for work 5 days a week — has to be promoted before me. Because we have to be fair.

    Every time someone mentions how GREAT unions are, Last Exit to Brooklyn comes to mind.

  14. @ Razordu30: Some independant coffee shops are rubbish, so we should forsake them all in favour of predictable mediocrity?

  15. I am more pro-Union than most, but these guys were organized by the IWW? What the hell? Was that a joke? The Wobblies? They haven’t been a serious force since Big Bill Haywood defected to the USSR in 1921. The only serious labor organization in the US post World War II is the AFL-CIO, and they do organize more than factory workers — many T.A. unions for example are ultimately AFL-CIO based.

  16. I am torn. On one hand, unionizing Starbucks might tweak the company financially and slow its cancer like growth. It might also reduce customer service (oh come on, name the last time you got awesome friendly customer service from a union member) and cause it to dump off some customers, and that kind of brings a smile to my lips. On the other hand though, a Starbucks that fails might unleash its yuppies on local coffee shops that only hire only the finest highly educated struggling liberal arts grad students for $8 dollars an hour and all the coffee beans from the floor you can carry.

    I don’t know about you guys, but I personally think that Starbucks is really the wrong place for a union. Coffee shops in general are not exactly life time careers. They are a job grad students and hipsters snag where they are being (barely) paid so that they can say they work at a coffee shop. If you don’t find bad pay an erratic hours rewarding… you should probably look for a different career path.

    Eh, it doesn’t matter to me. Like I said, I only visit local shops that offer absolutely no health insurance and bad pay anyways.

  17. Anonymous #7: Word. I worked at Starbucks for about eight months when I was in university, about six years ago. The up-and-down schedule is a bitch.

    Rindan: Not all coffee shop workers are “hipster liberal arts students”. A lot of them are working poor, trying to support themselves and their families. Having the power of a union to stand up to a mega-corporation like Sbucks could make all the difference in the world for them. Don’t dismiss them so easily.

  18. Rindan:

    Coffee shops are not lifelong careers BECAUSE the staff are treated badly. It’s not the coffee that makes it a bad start to a career, it’s the lack of worker rights and benefits that a union would bring.

    That’s WHY the only people who work there are those who don’t care about a long term career in the industry. You think that only undergrads can make espressos?

  19. My son works at Starbucks, and he absolutely fits the bill of the undergrad art student barista. Even has the goatee.

    Other than the erratic hours, it’s an absolutely great college job–working conditions are pleasant with easy going customers, management has always been respectful and there are quite nice health care benefits for this kind of part time job. Pay is slightly above fast food worker fare, but tips compensate quite a bit. And the pound of free coffee a week and (non-paranoid policies about family discounts and taking unused coffee home) is refreshing.

    Yes, the hours are definitely erratic, but the manager is having to schedule a lot of students who’s schedules are erratic too.

    His, and pretty much any Starbucks I’ve been to have far better, friendly customer service than most similar places that employee a lot of students. That’s imperative for a company that depends on maintaining a pleasant environment for consumers.

    For a huge corporation Starbucks seems to be one of the good guys compared to anything similar….not sure what a union would do for them other than bring down the level of service due to incompetent employees being allowed to stay on, and slowly turn the employee/management relationship adversarial when up to now it’s been pretty cooperative and progressive. There are many other companies the union should focus on that really do treat their employees like dirt…not sure why they jump on one of the few that’s got a decent record.

  20. I am one of the working poor managing a fast food joint. While I would love to pay myself and my workers more it would not be possible. As it is we have a profit margin of 8 to 12 percent. And we happen to be a more profitable store.

    Unions are not always the answer. The manufacturing industry in my area has been gutted because of unions. It is almost impossible to get rid of a union worker for performance reasons. There is also no incentive to work hard because like a grade school track meet, everyone gets a ribbon no matter the effort.

    I go to my local Starbucks twice a day. They provide excellent customer service and from my conversations with the employees and management the people love working there. They pay over minimum wage, provide a dental/drug plan (no health, I live in Canada), and a free pound of coffee a week. As far as the food industry goes they treat their employees well.

    With the economy in the state it is I feel thankful that I even HAVE a job. It might not pay much, require long irregular hours, and demand a lot of time and effort, but it pays my bills and feeds my family. Life is not like that grade school track meet; if you want to succeed you need to put in the work to do so. Want a good job? Work hard at getting a good education and get that job. If you choose not to then don’t complain about the consequences. The world owes you nothing.

  21. Coffee shops are not lifelong careers BECAUSE the staff are treated badly. It’s not the coffee that makes it a bad start to a career, it’s the lack of worker rights and benefits that a union would bring.

    What is wrong with having a job that ISN’T a life long career? I personally like the fact that every time I end up chatting with barista I get to talk to her about her PhD research. Some times it is just fun to take a job that barely pays the rent but exposes you to interesting people. Personally, I find the thought of a 60 year old barista you can’t fire because she has seniority x10 doesn’t actually appeal.

    Not every single job has to be a life long career. Some times people want to take a detour. Hell, I took a detour with the awesomely low paying please-don’t-collect-on-my-student-loans-but-mildly-interesting-job. It was a good time. If you want a life long job… stop competing with hipster and PhD students and find another industry. Is that so horribly hard?

    1. Epic failure of humanity is epic.

      Oblivious ignorance of the trend over the last two decades to push full-time, benefited employees into part-time. Failure to notice soaring unemployment rate and need to take any available job. It’s a bit embarrassing to share a species with people who think that it’s fine that a job doesn’t pay a living wage. I thought that la guillotine had taken care of that attitude. Apparently there’s no cure for Empathy Deficit Disorder yet.

  22. My whole family is union, so I have seen both the good and bad. In these uncertain times, unions can offer security and a living wage.

    However, Starbucks is already ahead of the curve in this respect. I can’t speak about their wages, but having working with benefit plans for over 10 years, I know very few companies that offer a PART TIME (20+ hours/week) employee with medical, dental, vision benefits. Hell, my last employer only paid 25% of the Family coverage for a Full Time employee, and many companies complain about picking up even 50% of the benefit tab.

    From the Starbucks site:

    Starbucks pays approximately 60% to 82% of the cost of health coverage for partners and approximately 50% to 60% of the cost for dependent health coverage.

    Just be careful what you wish for, it may be a Pyrrhic victory. Once you go union, they can yank back the benefits and force the union to either set up their own plans or negotiate on the employees behalf. You might wind up paying union dues on top of higher premiums.

    And yes I know, all citizens should have coverage that is not dependent on their employment, but we are not yet part of that (civilized) world.

  23. I hate to sound like *ahem*, Charles Platt), but I’m not all that convinced that unionization is the way to go here. I’ve had mixed experiences with unions myself, and that was with unions who were better organized than the Wobblies. And, hey, while we’re at it, how many of these little indie coffeehouses are unionized, anyway?

    And, Felix Mitchell: “Starbucks open new stores worldwide every day, they could have paid employees with that money.” Um, wrong, they’ve been closing stores.

  24. Cool to see Starbucks workers organizing.

    I think the most convincing statistic in the film was at the end, “Union workers earn 30% more each week than non-union workers.”

    I decided to do a little fact checking, and came up with these two links.

    Supports the (fairly common sense) theory that union workers make more money. But the figures are a bit old and not as well referenced as I wanted.

    Provides up to date numbers. My interpretation is that union (and union represented) workers make more than non-union workers. There isn’t enough data to check the 30% figure specifically, but I’m inclined to believe it.

    My analysis: I’d want a union if I worked at Starbucks.

  25. Ahh…Unions…how I hate thee.

    When I was at University of Iowa the Grad students unionized but it was such a corrupt power grab it made me sad.

    The IBEW (that’s right, electrical workers) paid for the grad student organizers to do the unionizing and then of course, the comittee voted to unionize with the IBEW and of course, it happened.

    Yep, you read that right. The grad students at U of Iowa are apparently Electrical Workers.

    Fucking corrupt bastards.

    That’s not even starting into my story about a union tuckpointer bossman with a pinky ring that said Dale coming to a jobsite in a big lincoln town car and saying if we didn’t join their union he’d have us shut down.

    Turd Juggling Ass-Tard.

    Oh unions…how I hate thee.

  26. Starbucks already pays above what other fast food companies do, plus tips are shared among all employees, boosting the hourly wage. They already provide health care insurance and have a nice work environment with high employee satisfaction.

    But a union might get me more money and make it hard for them to fire me, so screw ’em!!!!

    Unions can be vital, but they should be for more than just getting (extorting?) higher wages for the sake of higher wages, or making it difficult to fire people who don’t perform. In this case, there’s simply no rationale for a union since the company has consistently been a good faith employer.

  27. I work for Starbucks, and I have for almost to years. I thank my lucky stars weekly that my SO has a job that covers all our other expenses, so that all I have to work for is my student loans, so that I can spend as little of my time there as possible.

    The problem with not being unionized is not (really) that Starbucks workers are being oppressed and abused as a whole, the problem is inconsistency. I have seen (and heard about, and read about) stores whose employees are all as happy as can be, whose managers dole out hours based on need/request/skill level rather than on seniority, and everybody gets enough hours to qualify for that fabulous health insurance #22 gives glowing praise for. But. For every store like that, there’s another one that’s grossly mismanaged, where the regional management looks the other way, because to address the situation would require admitting that they had made a mistake in hiring/promoting that store manager to begin with.

    In my previous store, less than half the employees ever got the requisite 20hr/week to qualify for benefits, because the manager only scheduled her “favorite” people to work, regardless of seniority or ability. That was only the beginning of her underhanded and unethical activity – there were a lot of cash handling and time clock inconsistencies as well – but when I took my concerns to the next level of management, *nothing* was done. At all. Despite the fact that I was assured that they were “greatly concerned”. She ended up running that store into the ground, and when it closed, only half of us still had jobs, and the ones who didn’t were only given five days notice of that fact.

    Now I’m at another store (whose manager is a pillar of modern virtue – really, not sarcastically) and everybody’s pretty happy, but I can’t help thinking: What happens the next time something at my workplace sets off klaxons in my conscience? Who do I appeal to? I admit that I know very little about unions, and what I do know seems to indicate that their command structure is as rotten as ours is.

    I guess all I’m saying is that it would be really nice if Starbucks had some actual infrastructure in place to deal with workplace issues. It’s nice that they make all this noise about benefits and corporate responsibility and whatnot – but when it comes down to it, Starbucks is run by people, and some people just are the kind that will take advantage of others if no one holds them accountable.

  28. I have worked at Peet’s and at Starbucks. Yes, the coffee is better at Peet’s, but essentially, the scheduling stupidities, the employee stock buy-ins, the incompetence with management, really, they are same. Starbucks and Peet’s have a history of cooperation together, the man who started Peet’s trained the men who started Starbucks back in the day how to roast coffee.

    Peet’s is not unionized. I do not foresee a day when Peet’s will ever be unionized. Granted, I enjoyed working at Peet’s much more than at Starbucks, but when I worked at Starbucks I earned $.50 more/hour. That was only due to the fact that I worked in a location where the minimum wage was above $10.10 an hour. When you make $9.60 an hour, fifty cents feels like a lot.

  29. Jonathan Badger: The corruption of the mainstream (business) unions that so many posters complained about is the exact reason that the IWW is the right union for the job. Since they are more democratic, they don’t waste member’s wages on political campaigns, charge excessive dues, or bully members. Sure they used to strike fear into the heart of every capitalist, and now most probably haven’t heard of them. They used to have hundreds of thousands of members and have only a few thousand now…but if they’ve survived so many attempts by government and business to shut them down, there must be something fundamental that continues to draw workers.

    For those applauding Starbucks healthcare plan, remember that Starbucks covers a lower percentage of their workers than Walmart does.

  30. I find the comments about “supporting your local coffee shop” amusing…do you really think your local independent coffee shop is unionized?

  31. Can anyone actually make a strong quantitative argument for unionization given the existing system? In my experience the cost to employees is vastly greater than any potential benefits – specifically, the goodwill or whatever you want to call it that is lost by basically saying ‘talk to my union’ and the uniform standards enforcement significantly outweigh the (potential $$ increase less union dues). Is that number even positive anymore? Do newly unionized employees benefit from unionization at all? Is there a breakeven point for ‘average length of employment’ where it makes sense for employees to unionize? Most importantly, do these questions get asked by anyone? The union clearly has no motivation to police its own profit-taking..

    My experience, mind you, is specifically in a medium sized company which is closely held by the family of the founder and which has several employees who are second and even third generation employees. I suspect that in an environment such as a large and/or publicly held company the motivations of management would be vastly different (actually, I can attest to this but only anecdotally), but the math should still be the same..

    I think unionizing starbucks is ridiculous – I believe that there are jobs which, if unionized (especially in the current economic climate), push the cost of services offered past the price point at which the business can survive. The CAW unionized a McDonalds in Squamish maybe 20 years ago and learned this first hand. Since everyone who unionized quit within a few months, this (no longer unionized) McD’s has become one of the top franchises in North America.

    Look at Chrysler: The CAW wants nothing to do with the husk of a company they’ve bled dry – at least Lewenza seems to realize what they’ve done though, and hopefully others can learn from the hard lessons people are getting now.

    @ Antinous #32

    I totally do not follow. Are you suggesting the employees, union leaders or corporations missed the signs? Who thinks it’s fine that a job doesn’t pay a living wage, and what do you mean by that? Just based on that statement, I am curious as to your stance on minimum wage and welfare..

    1. BadStoryDan,

      I’m responding to the several ‘let them eat cake’ comments. Those who accept an underclass deserve to join it.

  32. tdarrow,

    You may, in your capacity as a representatives of Starbucks, include that link. Describing your corporate press release as ‘facts’ is unlikely to impress readers with your veracity. I won’t even get into the Orwellian semantic fen of ‘relationship’ and ‘partners’.

  33. Together we will win
    free the Starbucks wage-slaves !
    Viola Wikins

  34. Despite the problems, a union is the wrong solution to their problems. The collective bargaining abilities of an essentially unskilled workforce is nill.

    Perhaps if the employees were highly trained technicians suffering from low pay and a lack of benefits I could understand. However, their job is primarily customer service and the pushing of a few buttons. They are payed on par or better for the type of work. They have available benefits and stock options. They also have the additional benefits of a flexible schedule. In summary they have a decent gig and are easily replaceable.

  35. Ah..yes unions They will bring higher wages and job security ,just look at Chrysler or GM. They are making 2x the average wages right?..oh , wait, bad example.
    When will everyone wake up and smell the coffee? It is all about paying ransom to union management to “protect” the jobs and workers. Granted there are some bad companies with bad management out there that need kick in the butt but they are the minority. Starbucks does not seem to be one of them, they offer health insurance and treat employees well.
    I have to laugh hearing workers bitching about changing hours of work.. get a grip,that is the business you are in, customers come whenever they want to come. And yes, union will fix that…NOT!

  36. LYSY404 said: “It is all about paying ransom to union management to “protect” the jobs and workers.”

    You do realize that the IWW only has one paid official, the executive of the whole international. The IWW starbucks union has no paid union officials. Regular dues are only $18 a month. Sub minimum dues (for those who make less than $2000 a month) are only $9 a month. That’s hardly protection money for some kind of extortion racket. The real racketeers are the bosses not the union.

    Once they get organized, union workers really do have better wages, a better safety record, and have more say in their own jobs.

  37. Nailed Visionary “Unions are not always the answer. The manufacturing industry in my area has been gutted because of unions.”
    Whether good union, bad union or no union, North American manufacturers who actually make stuff in North American can’t compete (or are, at least, fighting an uphill battle) with those that make stuff elsewhere. Whether you get $8/hr or $30/hr is meaningless when the same job in China or some third world hellhole goes for a fraction of that, complete with little to no labour/safety or environmental standards. The rallying cry of the modern company is rarely “The employees!”, it’s more often “The shareholders!” (oddly, they don’t seem to have considered the endgame of the race to the bottom where, since the former workers are unemployed and broke and the new workers make just broke, nobody can afford what they sell).

  38. To be honest one of the reasons I wanted to work at Starbucks is because it isn’t union. I got tired of working with meth heads who couldn’t be fired because of all these crazy union rules. I have benefits, I make a great wage, why would I want a union? Other than be able to miss work for being fake sick all the time and have no repercussions? Is boing boing unionized? If it’s so great and all.

  39. individual consumer choices will not change the dynamics of a multinational corporation. workers organizing will. no ones needs to worry about Starbucks profits, there are a huge, growing, powerful corporation. a union won’t change that or the taste of the coffee. without a union people can be fired with NO CAUSE AT ALL. I think it is interesting how ignorant people (Lysy404) blame unions for jobs going overseas. read a little, that is the corporations fault, not the workers. a corporation that is working to get the biggest profit margin at the expense of working people who built their industry. why shouldn’t workers complain about bad conditions? some people seem to think workers should just lay down and let corporations that make millions to billions of dollars screw them, that they should take whatever they can get and shut up. look a the economy now, look at poverty. not having a voice on the job truly hurts people, it hurts families. its not just rich college students, its working class people trying to survive. they are the ones that make the coffee, they make starbucks possible, not the millionaire CEOs, so they should speak up and have a say. Bravo I.W.W. and courageous Starbucks employees.

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