Starbucks protest in Lancaster, PA draws 30
by John Schreck
Lancaster, PA - On May 17th, the Lancaster branch of the Industrial Workers of the World and the Lancaster Students for a Democratic Society protested for over three hours at the Columbia Avenue store in solidarity with the IWW-Starbucks Workers Union. At the peak of the event 25 demonstrators were in attendance and approximately 30 people attended all together.
Three years after the founding of the IWW Starbucks Workers Union, the organization has members in multiple U.S states successfully using Direct Action to rise out of poverty and articulate an independent voice on the job.
To silence worker voices, Starbucks has disgracefully terminated eight SWU baristas in retaliation for their union activity. The SWU has prevailed against Starbucks to reinstate two of the members but six
remain out of a job. Despite multiple Labor Board complaints, the coffee giant continues to punish baristas for discussing the union and relentlessly forces union-busting propaganda down workers throats. Starbucks must understand that working people of conscience will not allow this affront to the dignity
of our class.
The demonstrators split into three groups and fanned out across a large parking lot. While singing pro-union songs and waving an array of anti-corporate coffee signs to passing cars, attendees handed out several hundred flyers to those interested, several of which decided against purchasing Starbucks products upon learning of repeated labor violations.
Lancaster has several fair trade coffee shops in the downtown area, but corporate giants are now all around the city. Millersville University, located just outside the city limits, had success getting fair trade coffee introduced to the student body three years ago. However, the university has yet to switch over to all fair trade. Franklin & Marshall, another local university, also is not a completely fair trade institution. Several groups in the area are working to target schools/universities/public areas' distribution of "unfair" trade in the coming months and years.
For more information, please see the following sites:
Lancaster IWW - www.lancasteriww.org/
Lancaster SDS - www.newsds.org/lancaster/
IWW - Starbucks Workers Union - www.starbucksunion.org/