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Thursday, 30 March 2017 06:25


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Seemingly in the face of President Trump’s immigration ban last month (which was stayed by a Federal Judge from Washington State, the home State of Starbucks, interestingly), Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said that “The company planned to hire 10,000 refugees over five years in 75 countries, he did this two days after U.S. President Trump’s executive order banning refugees from certain countries… hiring efforts announced last month, would start in the United States by ‘initially’ focusing on individuals who have served as interpreters and support personnel in the various countries where the military has asked for such support.’ Schultz also affirmed the company’s commitment to trade with Mexico.”

Infamously, IBM, in the 60s, when questioned about the company’s increasing practice of sending jobs overseas to lower paid employees only to market the products back in the States, was asked if his corporation did not feel any sense of loyalty to its nation, which had made it wealthy. IBM responded that they were not an “American” corporation but a “multinational” one.

How little things have changed since then.... Pick a corporation. Present an image, which most people accept, of being a loyal American business, and then just do what you will because the people will not likely ever find out the actual nature of your activities. Starbucks has a long history of labor issues, including attempting to stick it to Trump now.

According to a May 21, 2009 article by ZP Heller, “In just one day, 10,000 people have signed the memo insisting that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz allow workers to unionize… Starbucks is part of the Orwellian-sounding Committee for Level Playing field. (Notice the pattern of “Starbucks speak.” The company sticks to an “Optimal Scheduling policy" that is anything but optimal for its “partners”, which is the company’s clever name for its workers, even though Starbucks routinely disrespects these workers by punishing them for participating in union activities.)

Starbucks… has repeatedly violated the National Labor Relations Act.

Look at how McDonald’s is now going to “revolutionize” the fast food industry by having you place your orders on automated systems, with no customer service, largely due to the repeated efforts of their employees to unionize due to labor issues.

According to the video “5 Darkest Starbucks Secrets”. “Starbucks claims to support the welfare of farmers in developing countries… but a 2005 fight with Ethiopia’s coffee growers revealed that Starbuck’s socially responsible image is only a marketing tactic. To protect the value of their unique coffees (sold to Starbucks for only 2-3% of what the company charged consumers)… Ethiopia sought to trademark its brands. During the application process, the country was shocked to find that Starbucks had already applied for their own trademarks on the names. If successful, Starbucks would have been able to use the names on any coffee that they sold… cutting out the Ethiopian farmers they claimed to support and depriving them of $80 million annually.

“In 2012, Starbucks decided to boost the variety of teas it offered by acquiring Teavana, a specialty retailer of loose-leaf teas. With Starbucks spending $620 million on the purchase, investors looked very closely at Teavana and were shocked with what they found. Lab tests of Teavana’s most popular teas were tested for pesticide residue, and despite being labeled as such, none were ‘organic’. 77% of the samples tested would have failed European Union pesticide import standards, with one variety containing 23 different pesticides. Most concerning was the finding that 62% of the teas showed traces of Endosulfan, a chemical known to cause infertility and birth defects. Despite the concerns, Starbucks pushed through the acquisition and proudly serves Teavana teas today.

“Responding to growing community discontent over its rapid global brand expansion, Starbucks turned to opening ‘stealth’ locations in 2009. 15th Street Coffee and Tea and Roy Street Coffee were both opened in Seattle as secret de-branded Starbucks. Gone were the siren logo, green aprons and “tall, grande and venti” designations--- all replaced to portray the shops as independent. The stores were proclaimed to be laboratories for new Starbucks concepts, but independent coffee shop owners suspected a stealth attack.

Starbucks move to squeeze local businesses (like the one-time “Lush” European Bakery and Coffee next door in Fort Myers, FL which did not last long) came after their 2008 purchase of Clover, a brewing machine used by many independent cafes. The equipment is no longer available for purchase and owners of existing equipment have complained of deliberately slow service repairs.”

Mark Stiggs
North Fort Myers

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