On Thursday, February 22, students from more than two dozen colleges demanded their institutions “cancel their contracts with Starbucks in protest against the company’s response to union organizing efforts,” according to TheGuardian (UK).
Students from California to New York disagreed and, in conjunction with Starbucks Workers United, pointed to the coffee giant’s less-than-worker-friendly tactics in dealing with demands for unionizing. Restaurant Dive lists some of those tactics, which include “workplace surveillance and diluting the electoral pool at unionizing locations, firing workers involved with the union in alleged retaliation, and alleged solicitation of grievances in an effort to stymie union organizing.”
The powerful cede power only when forced to, and it’ll be most interesting to see what effect these and other protests have on Starbucks’ policy. The Guardian reports that . . .
“nearly 400 Starbucks stores around the US have won union elections to join Starbucks Workers United since December 2021...but a first union contract for any store has yet to be reached.”
As any giant corporation would, Starbucks claimed there’s nothing to see here, folks, just move along now...Several sources quote a spokesperson for the coffee chain: “While we remain longstanding advocates of civil discourse, our focus is on fulfilling our promise to offer a bridge to a better future for all partners – through competitive pay, industry-leading benefits for part-time work, and our continued efforts to negotiate fair contracts for partners at stores that have chosen union representation.”
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student Haya Odeh puts about as much credence into that statement as you do. “We’re just not going to let Starbucks slide with the injustices they pass on to workers,” she’s quoted in The Guardian. “Their union busting is just the very tip of the iceberg. Their labor practices and how they treat their workers, we want to push the message that we’re not going to stand for this as students.”
Georgetown University’s paper TheHoya reported on a panel discussion held on February 22, sponsored by Georgetown Students Against Starbucks (GSAS). “Panelist Meghin Martin, a former partner at Starbucks and member of SWU, said Starbucks has refused to engage in good faith bargaining, a type of negotiation in which both parties must sincerely resolve to reach a collective bargaining agreement.
‘Their whole game plan is running the union dry, wait as long as they possibly can, and hope that we either just give up, we run out of money.’”
Speaking of money, Starbucks has quite a lot of it. Those protesting its labor practices have gumption, dedication to the cause of the worker, and the desire to end corporate exploitation.
Time will declare the victor. For the moment, a cup of coffee would be terrific. A nice, home-brewed cup in a porcelain mug that can be used time and again...
The universal struggle to build trusting relationships is best reflected in music.
Here are 10 of the most memorable songs about trust (or a lack thereof).
1. "Trust in Me" by Etta James
Etta James' 1937 classic "Trust in Me" is about more than just having faith in your partner, it's a plea for trust. James captures the strife of a relationship in which one partner seems to be more invested and trustful.
2. "The Times They Are A Changin'" by Bob Dylan
Between the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War, the '60s were clearly a time of social unrest and mistrust. Bob Dylan's song is a call for change and an affirmation that change is possible.
3. "A Matter of Trust" by Billy Joel
Once you get past the butterflies, there's the challenge of keeping the relationship alive. Billy Joel sings about what it takes to make a relationship last: Trust in each other.
4. "That’s What Friends Are For" by Dionne Warwick
"That's What Friends Are For" was out three years before Dionne Warwick recorded this version featuring Gladys Knight, Elton John, and Stevie Wonder. Their version became a hit: a worthy success for four friends singing about dependable companionship.
5. "Let Me Leave" by Marc Broussard
Sometimes trusting someone is a bad idea, especially when they haven't given you a good reason. If you're fortunate enough to get a heads up like Marc Broussard's "Let Me Leave," then you'd better take it.
6. "Lean On" by Major Lazer & DJ Snake Ft. MO
Named the 2015 song of the year, with more than 540 million streaming listens, "Lean On" is a mashup of EDM and indie vocals from music collective Major Lazer, DJ Snake and Swedish singer MO. Arguably the song of the summer, "Lean On" makes the point that all we need is someone to lean on.
7. "Fortress" by Coleman Hell
Toronto-based artist Coleman Hell recently split from his duo for a solo music career. "Fortress" features the same folktronica and EDM elements as the rest of his EP. With its catchy, upbeat sound, it's easy to forget the song is about how hard it is to get someone to trust you enough to let you in.
8. "Take Care" by Drake ft. Rihanna
Whenever trust is broken, there's always someone else to pick up the pieces. Drake's 2012 hit "Take Care" explores the aftermath of trying to take care of someone whose heart has been broken. The song approaches trust from all angles: giving it, gaining it and losing it.
9. "Trust Nobody" by D4
Backstabbing, faking, lying—there's a point where the only person you can trust is yourself. D4, the New Zealand rock band from the late '90s, figures that getting what you need might be a one-man effort.
10. "Trust" by Justin Bieber
Talk about a redemption tour. Justin Bieber's entire album Purpose is centered around the pop star's journey to redemption and regaining the trust he lost. "Trust" is about a couple renewing lost trust, but it really could be about any relationship.