“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.
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