Saturday, December 09, 2006

The IWW Starbucks Workers Union continues its campaign to enlist public support in favour of the right to organize on the part of Starbucks workers and in support of the efforts of the Ethiopian government to trademark three locally grown strains of coffee. It is estimated that the efforts of Starbucks and other corporations to oppose this measure have cost Ethiopian farmers close to $90 million a year in lost revenue. Over 70,000 customers have taken the initiative of protesting to Starbucks about their stubbornness. A meeting on November 28th between Ethiopian Prime Minster Meles Zenawi and Starbucks chief executive Jim Donald produced no resolution of the dispute.
The Starbucks Workers' Union has launched a e-mail campaign to support the efforts of the Ethiopians and also their own organizing efforts. The letter that they wish you to send to the Starbucks Chairman reads as follows:
Dear Chairman Schultz;
I am deeply distressed that you have once again rejected an agreement that would allow Ethiopian coffee farmers to control their own cultural heritage. On November 29th in a meeting in Ethiopia's capital city between Starbucks CEO Jim Donald and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, the Ethiopians assured Starbucks a royalty-free licencing agreement. Despite this assurance, you have insisted on maintaining your unfair market position while Ethiopian coffee farmers live in brutal poverty. How can you sleep at night knowing that you are profiting off the place names of exquisite Ethiopian Coffee- Sidamo, Yirgaceffe, Harrar- as coffee farming families struggle to feed themselves, access clean water and send children to school ?
I am also disturbed that you have taken the same paternalistic approach to Ethiopian coffee farmers that you have taken toward Starbucks baristas joining a union for a better life on the job. Your socially responsible marketing gimmicks do not put food on the table for baristas or coffee farmers.
I support the Justice From Bean to Cup! campaign linking baristas and coffee farmers across the Starbucks suppl;y chain for a living wage and respect. Stop interfering with the fundamental right of baristas and coffee farmers to an independent voice on the job. Sign the trademark agreement with Ethiopia and respect the right of baristas to join a union.
I urge your prompt attention to this matter."
The above message can be sent by clicking here: .

To follow the ongoing campaign to unionize Starbucks go the union website at

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