Global Day of Action Against Starbucks : July 5, 2008

OK OK: so Starbucks in Melbourne is mostly for tourists and mallrats, happy to drink shit coffee while supporting the demise of Melbourne cafe culture. But Starbucks the transnational corporation is also notorious for union-busting, and it’s as a result of its latest union-busting antics that a

Global Day of Action Against Starbucks

on July 5, 2008 has been called for. It follows the firing of union activists, Cole (Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA) and Monica (Seville, Spain). Cole is a member of the Starbucks Workers Union, affiliated to the IWW; Monica is a member of the Commercial and Hotel Workers’ Union, affiliated to the CNT, the Spanish section of the IWA.

In Melbourne, a rally and protest is being organised by the ASF:

WHERE : Starbucks, 295 Swanston St (between Lonsdale and Little Lonsdale Sts), Melbourne
WHEN : Saturday, July 5, 11am

Note that a CLIMATE EMERGENCY RALLY is being held on the same day, just two hours later (1pm) at the City Square, corner of Swanston & Collins Sts… and just a hop, skip and a jump from Starbucks!

Locally, the screws are being turned on construction workers via the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner (ABCC). Established following the conduct of the Cole Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry — and operating ostensibly in order to combat corruption in the industry — the ABCC is one of HoWARd’s lasting legacies. Problems with the ABCC include:

    Abolition of the right to silence.
    Six month jail terms for those refusing to attend hearings.
    Secret interrogations.
    Penalties for informing others of your testimony.

You can learn more about the ABCC via Constructing Fear, “A documentary exposing the activity of an industrial inquisition targeting building workers across Australia. Constructing Fear shows how these workers are the front line in an attack on civil liberties that has implications for every Australian.”

For a contrary view, see Save the ABCC Homepage. See also : Union Solidarity.

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2024 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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5 Responses to Global Day of Action Against Starbucks : July 5, 2008

  1. Dr. Cam says:

    A few other people are also getting the sack:

    Starbucks will close 600 US coffee shops and eliminate as many as 12,000 jobs, the most in its history, as chief executive Howard Schultz slows the chain’s expansion after it doubled in size in four years.

    But it’s not all bad.

    Starbucks gained as much as 7.2% in late Nasdaq trading after saying the reductions amount to 7% of its workforce worldwide. The cuts include full- and part-time employees and will come over the next nine months, the Seattle-based company said.

  2. Liam says:

    Anyone have any idea about what will be happening in Sydney with this? Or am i going to have to actually do something myself…

  3. Sophia says:

    Interesting, I might be along with a few mates – tall guy, long hair, grey coat. I’ll buy you lunch at the Krishna place or something, if you’re up for it.

  4. Raquel says:

    Doing a rally in front of a Starbucks store will do nothing. The staff that will be working that day and time can’t change anything or do anything about what you are protesting as they only work for the company and doing their shifts. Moreover, store managers don’t normally work on weekends. If you want your message heard, go to their Australian head office in Frenchs Forest in New South Wales. That’s where the Starbucks Australia Managing Director and all the other big bosses are based.

  5. @ndy says:

    G’day Raquel,

    A few points.

    First, I think the idea behind the protest is not to convince the staff at the Swanston Street store to ‘do’ anything in particular, but rather to make sure that Starbucks management — both in Australia but, moreover, in Spain and in the US — is aware that its union-busting tactics are being taken note of by a wide variety of people, and across the globe.

    Secondly, the tactical vulnerability of the corporation lies in its image as a ‘good’ employer, and an environmentally and socially responsible corporation. In that sense, any action — such as the scheduled Global Day of Action — which jeopardises this image is one that management must pay attention to. There are numerous examples of TNCs losing PR battles with political activists — McDonalds and Nike spring to mind — as a result of their disregard for concerns expressed by members of the general public regarding working conditions and other, attendant issues; in this instance, the right to organise.

    Finally, the purpose of such actions is not, as I see it, to ‘educate’ management regarding the right to organise — management doesn’t need to be informed of its own actions — but to alert the general public of the corporation’s union-busting activities.


    If I lived in Sydney, I might, depending on its exact location, attend a protest outside Starbucks HQ, but as I live in Melbourne, it’s not possible in any case.

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