Starbucks serves non-union lattes

Starbucks’ 2006 Corporate Social Responsibility report promises a "great work environment" and notes that it expects its suppliers to respect "the rights of individuals" and to adhere to international standards regarding worker treatment, but the Seattle-based caffeine retailer reportedly fell a little short in its stance toward some of its U.S. employees who may have been exercising their lawful rights to support unionization efforts at some Starbucks locations.

The Wall Street Journal got access to some Starbucks emails and reported Jan. 9 that Starbucks managers took a list they found online of Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations graduates and figured out which of them were current Starbucks employees in an effort to stymie organizing efforts. The emails recommended that local managers be informed about the identities of the handful of employees that were found to have studied labor relations at Cornell and noted that some of them were "at risk" to getting axed.

The revelation occurred several days after Starbucks announced, in an unrelated development, that chairman Howard Schultz would succeed CEO Jim Donald, who indeed was axed.

In a letter on the company website, Schultz explains how Starbucks "developed a culture based on treating each other, our customers and our coffee growers with respect and dignity."

I guess that dignity doesn’t apply to the privacy and workplace rights of some Starbucks employees who choose to advocate for more benefits and unionization.

In New York, Starbucks faces allegations of National Labor Relations Board violations, dating to 2005, brought by the union attempting to organize Starbucks locations.

Apparently for Starbucks and many other companies, including Wal-Mart, promises of corporate responsibility sometimes end when it comes to labor relations.


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