IWW Starbucks Union News

IWW Starbucks Union Organizer Sarah Bender to Appear on Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman

Tue, 05/08/2007 - 3:10pm -- SWU

As the May 17th Day of Action to commemorate the third anniversary of the Starbucks Workers Union approaches, IWW barista Sarah Bender will appear on Pacifica's Democracy Now!.  On Wednesday May 9, Sarah will discuss the IWW's organizing drive at Starbucks and our Justice from Bean to Cup! initiative in the wake of the victory against Starbucks for Ethiopian coffee farmers.

Sarah was fired by Starbucks in retaliation for union activity in 2005.  Far from backing down, Sarah coordinated a grassroots support effort which culminated in a legal victory against Starbucks that won Sarah her job back.  In addition to organizing on the job, Sarah participated in a barista delegation to Ethiopia to build relationships with the coffee farmers growing beans for Starbucks.

The delegation's findings in addition to information on the plight of cafe employees at Starbucks is detailed in the Starbucks 2006 Corporate Irresponsibility Report.

A video from the delegation is also online:

Part I

Part II

Find Democracy Now! in your community or listen online at http://www.democracynow.org/

Ethiopian Coffee Farmers Prevail Against Starbucks on Trademark Issue

Thu, 05/03/2007 - 4:54pm -- SWU

The SWU and Justice from Bean to Cup! arose in solidarity with Ethiopian coffee farmers against Starbucks' effort to wrongfully profit off Ethiopian coffee names.  The farmers have apparently triumphed and Oxfam deserves congratulations for taking on the world's largest coffee chain.  An AFP story on the agreement is here.

Unfortunately, millions of coffee farmers and their families as well as Starbucks baristas are exploited by the coffee giant.  Justice from Bean to Cup! continues to demand that Starbucks pay all of its employees and farmers a living wage and respect our right to organize. 

SWU Members and Activists Welcome Pittsburgh Wobs for Clean Clothes-Fair Food Conference

Wed, 05/02/2007 - 1:12pm -- SWU

An important conference took place this last weekend bringing together the Fair Food Alliance, campaigners against Major League Baseball sweatshops, and the IWW Starbucks Workers Union, among many others.  Fellow Worker Ken Miller took time out of his busy schedule building solidarity with Bangladeshi garment workers against Pittsburgh Pirates sweatshop mercandise to share this picture of SWU members and activists with a couple Pittsburgh Wobs at an after-conference get together:


Do you want a union that exists to support what you and your co-workers want to do to improve life on the job?  Consider the IWW.  We are an affordable and effective union for all workers.

Cornell Students Working to Buck the Bux in Solidarity with Baristas and Coffee Farmers

Wed, 05/02/2007 - 1:03pm -- SWU

C.U. Places Fair Trade First
Seeks alternative to Starbucks-owned Seattle’s Best

“We don’t want Seattle’s Best to continue as [Cornell’s] coffee
provider because they are a subsidiary of Starbucks, a company whose
public image is one of corporate social responsibility, but whose
reality is something quite different,” Fixell said.

By Emily Dally
Sun Staff Writer
Apr 27 2007

According to the Fair Trade Federation, coffee is the world’s second-most valuable traded commodity, behind petroleum. It is also one of the most fairly traded products. Fair Trade refers to an equitable and fair partnership between businesses and organizations in North America and producers in the developing world.

Many educational institutions, places of worship and even towns currently pride themselves on their Fair Trade certification, but until recently, this has not been the case for Cornell. It was student organizing that took Cornell from a 0 percent Fair Trade campus to a majority Fair Trade campus.

“[The Cornell Organi­za­tion for Labor Action] was the first to go to Cornell with the idea of Fair Trade,” said COLA member Nina Hudson Fixell ’07.

“Cornell Dining has offered some level of Fair Trade coffee since 2001. In the first year of this initiative, the offerings were quite limited because demand was low and there was a price differential for this coffee from our vendor,” said Colleen Wright-Riva, director of Cornell Dining and Retail Services.” Consumers did not want to pay extra for the Fair Trade coffee.”

Over time, Cornell Dining has worked with Seattle’s Best to add more varieties and to minimize any cost differential for Fair Trade coffee. Presently, Cornell Dining pays the same for Fair Trade coffee as it does for other coffee products.


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