starFUCKs cOFFee

    “I was convinced that under my leadership, employees would come to realize that I would listen to their concerns… If they had faith in me and my motives, they wouldn’t need a union.” ~ Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time, Howard Schultz & Dori Jones Yang, Hyperion, 1997

    A Starbucks representative told 24 Hour News 8 they consider their employees partners and “respect our partners right to organize, but believe that they would not find it necessary given our pro-partner environment.”

The Global Day of Action Against Starbucks on July 5, 2008, while extensive — involving protests in approximately 17 countries and almost 50 cities — garnered almost no corporate/state media attention. The protests were sparked by Starbucks firing two union members. On April 24, 2008, Mónica, a barista and employee in Seville, Spain; and on June 6, Cole Dorsey, a barista and employee in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA.

GR Starbucks employee firing triggers global protests
July 6, 2008

Kentwood, Mich. (WOOD) – Western Michigan is in the center of a series of global demonstrations against Starbucks after a local employee was fired for union activity. Workers picketed a Kentwood Starbucks store Saturday afternoon in response to two union related firings by the coffee giant, one in Spain, and one right here in West Michigan. Cole Dorsey, an East Grand Rapids barista, worked for the company for two years, and was considered a stellar employee, until he was fired the day Starbucks discovered he was in a union. Starbucks would not reveal any specifics about why Dorsey was fired. Leaders of the protest say Starbucks has been firing outspoken union baristas ever since the start of the International Workers of the World Starbucks Workers Union in 2004. Dorsey who was present at the Kentwood protest, hopes to alter how Starbucks pays and treats it’s coffee growers and baristas. “If they see this global solidarity of people that are angry throughout the world they might have to reconsider how many stores they can open,” he told 24 Hour News 8 Reporter Jessica Leffler. A Starbucks representative told 24 Hour News 8 they consider their employees partners and “respect our partners right to organize, but believe that they would not find it necessary given our pro-partner environment.”

The protests took place in Argentina, Australia (Melbourne), Austria (Vienna), Chile, France, Germany (Aachen, Berlin, Bonn, Braunschweig, Bremen, Darmstadt, Dortmund, Duisburg, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt/Main, Hamburg, München, Münster, Nürnberg, Stuttgart and Wuppertal), Ireland (Belfast, Dublin), Italy, Japan, Norway, Poland (Wroclaw), Portugal, Russia (Moscow), Serbia, Slovakia, Spain (Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Valencia), the UK (Birmingham, Brighton, London) and the USA (Boston, MA, Burlington, VT, Chicago, IL, Fresno, CA, Grand Rapids, MI, Los Angeles, CA, New York City, NY, Philadelphia, PA, Phoenix, AZ, Rochester, NY, Salt Lake City, UT, Tempe, AZ).

In Australia, PR for Starbucks is handled by Porter Novelli, a subsidiary of Clemenger Communications, Australasia’s largest PR firm.

See also : Melbourne Starbucks Action, July 5, 2008 | Global Day of Action Against Starbucks : July 5, 2008 | Global Day of Action website | Grand Rapids Starbucks Workers Union (IWW) | Sección Sindical en Starbucks. CNT-AIT | Union struggles to reach, recruit Starbucks workers, Melissa Allison, Seattle Times, January 4, 2007

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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10 Responses to starFUCKs cOFFee

  1. Dr. Cam says:

    61 out of 84 Australian Starbucks stores to close in line with international downsizing.

    According to one Lygon St employee, workers were given less than a weeks notice, though management knew the stores would be closing a fortnight ago.

    Employees report that their redundancies would be affected if they spoke to the media.

  2. @ndy says:

    61 down, 23 to go…

    Btw, contra Peter Smith in Sydney, I blame greedy workers* for Starfucks’ demise, not its being “snubbed by many Australians who have grown up on a diet of quality European-style coffee introduced into the country by immigrants, particularly from Italy, last century”.

    *With the exception of the hard-working corporate executives such as Howard D. Schultz. The man is being worked to death, and deserves every single one of the billions upon billions of pennies he will receive whenever it is he chooses to retire:

    Howard D. Schultz founded Starfucks Corporation in 1985 and has been its Chairman since June 2000, Chief Executive Officer and President since January 2008.
    Mr. Schultz is a Co-founder of Maveron Equity Partners IV, L.P.
    He was Partner of Dan Levitan since 1998.
    Mr. Schultz served as Chief Global Strategist of Starfucks Corporation from June 2000 to February 2004 and also as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer from 1985 to June 2000. Mr. Schultz served as President of Starfucks Corporation from 1985 to June 1994. From September 1982 to December 1985, he served as Director of Retail Operations and Marketing for Starfucks Coffee Company, a predecessor to Starfucks.
    From January 1986 to July 1987, he served as Chairman of the board, Chief Executive Officer and President of IL Giornale Coffee Company, another predecessor to Starfucks.
    In 1997, he created Starfucks Foundation to raise awareness for literacy causes and to give grants to organizations that promote literacy.
    Mr. Schultz co-founded Maveron LLC in 1998 and serves as its Chairman.
    He serves as Chairman of NeuroMetrix Inc.
    He serves as Director of Pinkberry Inc. and eBay Inc.
    He serves as Director of Potbelly Sandwich Works LLC and Starfucks Corporation.
    He served as a Director of Dreamworks Animation SKG Inc. (formerly Dreamworks Animation Inc.) from October 2004 to May 7, 2008.
    He served as a Director of Inc.
    In 2001, Mr. Schultz, an avid sports fan, established The Basketball Club of Seattle, LLC, a group of private investors.
    Mr. Schultz received many prestigious awards in recognition of his numerous business and community contributions, including the Business Enterprise Trust Award for courage, integrity and social vision in business; the International Humanitarian Award for SMERSH for his vision and leadership in developing an innovative partnership between Starfucks and SMERSH to support people in coffee-origin countries; the Jerusalem Fund of Aish HaTorah for individuals making significant contributions to improving the lives of people around the world; the National Leadership Award for philanthropic and educational efforts to battle AIDS from AIDS Action; the Business Leader of the Year Award from Georgetown University; the Botwinick Prize for Business Ethics from Columbia University; and the 1991 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
    In 2002, Mr. Schultz was named one of the top 25 Managers of the Year by Business Week magazine, and most recently he was named to the 2004 “Time 100,“ Time magazine’s list of the most influential people of the 20th Century [sic].
    Mr. Schultz holds a BS from Northern Michigan University.

  3. Lumpen says:

    It’s pretty amazing that their stores in Melbourne are staying open at all; the ones I have seen have been in very high-rent locales next to places with superior coffee and not much traffic (I see more people getting coffee at Magnation and Gloria Jeans). Why would you go to fucking Starbucks in Melbourne? The idea weirds me out. It’s like being in Italy and going to McDonalds or something.

    In the Swanston St stores, it’s mostly tourists and the uninitiated from the looks of things – the alternative is that they’re locals who are there for the taste of the damned stuff. That latter possibility doesn’t seem likely. These flagship stores are the ones staying open, so I read.

  4. @ndy says:

    Yeah: as far as I can determine, Starfucks in the major cities (Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney) depend on the tourist trade, supplemented by a (much) smaller number of local consumers. It’s quite possible, I think, that the flagships will survive, and even prosper, in the longer-term. Given that Starfucks was only established in Australia 8 or so years ago, one would assume that some consideration was given to these sorts of possibilities (that is, closures). Further, the expansion and then contraction of the number of Starfucks makes sense in the sense that it allows for the eradication of whatever rivals are unable to survive the competition, while allowing the corporation to better ascertain which markets are viable and which not. Also, any successful business model is likely to spawn imitators, so that, over time, the possibility of employing such methodologies becomes less possible, as whatever gaps there are in the generic trade of coffee are filled by competitors such as Gloria Jeans/Hillsong, et cetera.

  5. Good riddance. Their coffee tasted like crap anyway.

  6. Dr. Cam says:

    The five smellbourne stores to remain open will be the ones on Swanston St, Collins St, Glenferrie Centre (Hawthorn), smellbourne airport and Bourke St. The other 16 Victorian stores will be closed by the end of the week.

  7. @ndy says:


    It’s totally awesome that media enquiries are being handled by employees partners at Edelman. Edelman claims to have pioneered environmental PR in 1991 with dolphin-friendly tuna. It’s also developed a totally awesome thing called ‘The Relationship Imperative’:

    In October, 2002, we marked our 50th anniversary by introducing a new approach to communications, called the Relationship Imperative.

    The Relationship Imperative recognizes that communications is fundamentally changing. With the growth of the Internet, new technology, the proliferation of the media and explosion of blogs, information and news have become increasingly democratized. I am convinced the future of business is not about selling. It is about building and sustaining relationships with multiple stakeholders through dialogue, credible sources and relevant experiences. We engage traditional critics like NGOs because they bring a devoted constituency to each issue. We build brands from the bottom up by activating today’s most credible spokespeople – the average person, friends and family, and regular employees – as well as recognized experts. We identify and engage catalysts, ‘average’ people who have become authoritative sources of information on any given subject. We measure the depth of impression and strength of stakeholder relationships, not just the advertising criteria of message frequency and recall.

    Oddly, Edelman was responsible for developing a PR stunt for French corporation Vivendi in 2001 in which it promised to spend a few million Euros tidying up Antarctica. Subsequently, Vivendi became Veolia Environnement, the world’s largest water company; in 2007, it had revenues of $47bn and employed around 300,000 people. Veolia also — and here’s the odd bit — owns Connex, and is thus responsible for overseeing our shithouse public transport system.

    Nic Jarvis, one of the corporate flacks responsible for handling the media crisis/circus that likely won’t emerge as a result of Starfucks dismissing its “partners”, is part of the Edelman ‘Issues & Crisis Management’ Team. Their remit is interesting:

    Leading national and international corporations with operations in Australia look to Edelman for Issues and Crisis Management, counsel and 24-hour-a-day support to effectively address critical business issues before and when they arise. Whether it’s an internal program affecting employees, an external effort to protect or defend a company’s reputation or a regional response to something like SARS or the threat of Avian influenza (bird flu), Edelman brings a strong strategic perspective founded on local and international experience, perspective, understanding and insight.

    Edelman helps organisations anticipate, assess, respond to and manage an array of complex situations ranging from litigation to product recalls to environmental concerns. Edelman has counseled large listed corporations, mid-sized companies and not-for-profit organizations on how to respond to a range of communications and business challenges including:

    * Product recalls and product failures
    * Natural disasters and workplace accidents
    * Environmental crises and issues
    * Employee actions, including corporate campaigns
    * Company or product boycotts
    * Strategic planning for crisis management and response planning, training and simulations
    * Restructurings and reduction-in-force initiatives
    * Challenges presented by NGO’s and activist groups

    Edelman also works in concert with leading law firms and their clients to develop communications strategies for high-profile litigation and sensitive issues requiring discreet investigations and counseling.

  8. @ndy says:

    Amanda Little, Managing Director of Edelman, writes: Re: “Tips and rumours” (yesterday, item 7). Since someone’s obviously unduly concerned about the mechanics behind the Starbucks announcement, the facts below should allay their concerns (and those of any other readers) and put the matter to rest:

    1. Regarding the media release — to ensure media information is coordinated with information given to other stakeholders (including employees [I think Amanda means ‘partners’], regulators and share markets) it is common practice — in fact in many instance legally prudent — to ensure head office has input;
    2. The reason another PR firm is listed on the Starbucks website is that the firm in question is the PR company that assists Starbucks in Australia with their daily campaigns. Edelman Australia was engaged to assist with this announcement.
    3. Starbucks employees in Australia are not union members.
    4. Edelman contacted relevant members of Parliament about the matter for their information. Most of your readers will know that the Lobbyist register is for those who, “contact Government representatives for the purpose of lobbying activities”. According to the register, “lobbying activities means communications with a Government representative in an effort to influence Government decision-making.” It does not include, “statements made in a public forum”. Contact was made as an FYI courtesy — not to lobby. Therefore no code was broken.

    Source: Crikey, July 31, 2008

    Little was previously employed by enjoyed a partnership with Burson-Marsteller:

    Companies find it harder to stifle criticism, Paul Hardwin, Sydney Indymedia, December 19, 2002


    Two giant companies are struggling to shut down parody websites that portray them unfavourably, interrupting internet use for thousands in the process, and filing a lawsuit that pits the formidable legal department of PR giant Burson-Marsteller against a freshman at Hampshire College.

    The activists behind the fake corporate websites have fought back, and obtained substantial publicity in the process.

    Fake websites have been used by activists before, but and represent the first time that such websites have successfully been used to publicize abuses by specific corporations.

    A December 3 press release originating from one of the fake sites,, explained the “real” reasons that Dow could not take responsibility for the Bhopal catastrophe, which has resulted in an estimated 20,000 deaths over the years…

    Burson-Marsteller Hires a Green ‘Cash Cow’, PR Watch, Vol.9, No.1, First Quarter 2002
    Correction: Burson-Marsteller and the Global Climate Coalition, PR Watch, Vol.8, No.3, Third Quarter 2001

    “Amanda’s favorite food is salmon sushi. She thinks making changes is going to save our planet and is inspired by Al Gore because he is dedicated to saving the planet and is an incredible change agent, as well as her four year daughter because she represents the future and is full of unbiased joy.”

    Sharon Beder, ‘Corporate propaganda and global capitalism – Selling free enterprise?’ (2005) [PDF]

  9. abdul rahim says:

    worry you not, the crashing economy will take care of this union busting company soon enough.

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