Analysis

Corbyn joins campaign for Starbucks union recognition

Former Labour leader calls ‘union-busting tactics’ ‘shocking’

Peace and Justice Project founder and former Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn joined Starbucks workers today to call for the Starbucks coffee chain to recognise trade unions. The US-based company has been accused of fighting a dirty battle – and an unsuccessful one – to prevent its workers organising to bargain collectively.

The London meeting was part of this week’s ‘Global week of action’ to support the Unite union’s ‘Baristas United’ campaign for union recognition, together with the BFAWU (Bakers’) union, which has seen volunteers mobilise in over fifty UK towns and cities. The campaign was also supported by Organise Now! and Strike Map UK and the Peace and Justice Project has launched ChangeIsBrewing.co.uk in support of the campaign

The ‘Baristas United’ campaign is inspired by Starbucks Workers United, who have successfully secured trade union agreements with over 250 Starbucks stores in the US, despite the company’s furious attempts to impede them. Those employed by Starbucks say they have faced increasing uncertainty due to the cost of living crisis, that low pay and zero hours contracts have contributed to financial hardship and that management pressure and chronic understaffing have increasingly become issued.

The growing calls for improved pay and conditions in this country follow Starbucks announcement of £95 million in profit from its UK stories in March 2022, as part of a $3.7 billion profit worldwide. The Peace & Justice Project has also launched its own website for the campaign, which allows supporters from around the world to write to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to demand union recognition.

Jeremy Corbyn spoke at a ‘Baristas United’ campaign launch rally at Starbucks on London’s New Oxford Street on Thursday 17 November, telling media that ‘We’re going to win this one – and after Starbucks we’ll move onto all the others’.

Describing Starbucks’s ‘union-busting tactics’ in the US as ‘shocking’, Corbyn also said:

Decades of austerity and now the soaring cost of living has pushed millions of workers and their families into poverty and desperation.

The time is long overdue for companies like Starbucks to recognise a trade union and negotiate a fair deal with its workers that will see baristas receive better pay and conditions, and help them through these tough times and beyond.

Starbucks has announced huge profits in the UK and around the world, and its tax affairs have been called into question on numerous occasions.  They, like companies such as Amazon, Royal Mail and others, simply must be held to account for letting their workers pay the price for the bosses’ greed.

Unite’s lead organiser for Hospitality Bryan Simpson said: 

For too long now baristas and cafe workers have had to sustain some of the lowest pay and most insecure contracts in the British economy. Our survey of baristas from across the country found that the top three issues remained poverty pay, inconsistent hours and chronic understaffing. 

Our organising campaign Baristas United, aims to change that by bringing together workers from across the big 4 to develop organising strategies which seek to drive-up standards across the sector by making and winning collective demands for a real living wage, guaranteed hours and an end to chronic understaffing.

As one of the richest corporations in the World, Starbucks does everything it can to stop workers in the US from collectively demanding the pay and conditions they deserve. We are sending a message to them and the other big chains that they will not get away with this here and that our members are ready and willing to collectively demand better.

Starbucks worker and union leader Edith Saldano said:  

Starbucks union busting tactics have not slowed us down, we have created a mass movement with a customer base and solidarity organisations to back us up. Our message to Starbucks is that the working class will forever be the most decisive in pushing for change. You cannot stop us. We are united, not only in the United States but clearly internationally.

Her colleague Nabretta Hardin said: 

My store wanted to unionise because we wanted a say…a conversation to be had if the company was to add or take things that affect our livelihood. We demand respect and deserve to be heard by a company that we work so hard for. Starbucks should stop union busting and have an adult conversation with their workers on what we need from them.”

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41 comments

    1. The Labour Party’s proposed Employment Rights Legislation will resolve many of these workers legitimate concerns.

      Amongst the many improvements that it would write into law would be
      ▪ Fair pay agreements. “A Labour government will bring together representatives of workers and employers to negotiate pay and conditions in every sector. ▪
      ▪ Collective bargaining in every sector will end the free market free-for-all that encourages undercutting, exploitation and a race to the bottom.”
      ▪ Give all workers rights from day one in their jobs: sick pay, holiday pay, parental leave and protection against unfair dismissal.
      ▪ Create one, single worker status, banning bogus self-employment.
      ▪ Ban zero-hour contracts and ensure all contracts come with minimum hours and reflect normal working life, requiring notice of shift changes and pay.
      ▪ End fire and rehire. “Labour will end the scandalous practice of fire and rehire once and for all.”
      ▪ Introduce a new right to flexible working as the default, protections for those with caring responsibilities and a right to switch off.
      ▪ Increase statutory sick pay and make it universal.
      ▪ Put mental health and safety on a legal par with physical health and safety, and make sure the laws are enforced by a new, empowered watchdog.
      ▪ Sign into law the new deal for working people within the first 100 days of coming to office.

      What’s not to like?

      1. Yeah, we all trust Starmer, don’t we! Here are a couple of clips from a recent MediaLens piece entitled ‘On The Highway To Climate Hell’ – The Climate Crisis, Activism And Broken Politics:

        Following the interview, Bastani used Twitter to highlight the glaring contrast between Packham’s cogent remarks on climate activism and the disparaging comments by establishment stooge Sir Keir Starmer. Bastani presented a clip of Starmer, the supposed ‘Leader of the Opposition’, addressing Just Stop Oil as though he were a fossil-fuel-friendly government minister:

        ‘Get up, go home. I’m opposed to what you’re doing. It’s not the way to deal with the climate crisis. And that’s why we’ve wanted longer sentences for those that are glueing themselves and stuck on roads.’

        And:

        Alex Nunns, author of ‘The Candidate – Jeremy Corbyn’s Improbable Path To Power’ and former Corbyn speechwriter, tweeted ‘A short video about fraud’ showing Starmer’s transition from a supposed supporter of climate activism in 2019 when he had said:

        ‘Climate change is the issue of our time, and as the Extinction Rebellion protest showed us this week, the next generation are not going to forgive us if we don’t take action. There’s been lots of talk. Now we need action.’

        Three years later, you see an authoritarian, right-wing politician calling for longer sentences for climate activists. Fraud, indeed.

        https://www.medialens.org/2022/on-the-highway-to-climate-hell-the-climate-crisis-activism-and-broken-politics/

  1. Scum Starmer & the Establishment think they’ve stopped Corbyn & what he stands for by the Brexit shift toppling Corbyn, but the reality of people’s lives is still there.

    The biggest Winter of Discontent ever is imminent, which will hopefully see the Tory scum out of office.

    Then we’ll deal with Starmer’s Tory Party mark 3…

  2. Exactly Andrew….and to cap it all labs Reeves describes the ransacking of Britain by their fellow housemates the conservative party as “pickocketing the public” ..Thats a insight into the me me me party so removed from reality of the car crash of the British economy and the devastation of the working class this winter….who are facing death and destruction of their lives.with no longer any Opposition parties to defend them
    .The worst example of a government and opposition parties in living memory.!
    Jeremy Corbyn sees the attacks on the working class and responds…and thats why hes not a labour mp and why they will not tolerate such behaviour in the labour party….mps supporting the working class and the defenceless…no way jose not in this labour party
    .Good morning Andrew youre up late or early depending on were you are?

    1. It’s a shame that he blew his chance to make a difference when he had the opportunity.

      1. I see SteveH is still spinning his falsehoods. But then THAT is what he’s paid to do!

      2. SteveH, for sure Corbyn blew his chances by allowing people like you to go around spreading the mirage of the “People’s Vote”.
        According to you we were going to have a “People’s Vote” before the General Election if labour members pushed hard from inside the Labour Party.
        Did we have a “People’s Vote”? No we didn’t and as a result we have a hard Brexit and a Tory government.
        Corbyn should have withdraw the Labour whip straight away to any one that voted in favour of Chukka’s motion on 2017 and should have sack Starmer from the front bench and withdraw the Labour whip the moment he started to undermine the 2017 manifesto policy on Brexit.
        It is possible that Labour will have still lost the 2019 GE, but in the process it would have clean the Party of red Tories.
        It would have been impossible for Starmer and others to mount a leadership campaign in 2020 since they would have not longer be Labour MPs, socialist would have taken their positions in Parliament. At least even losing the GE we will still have an effective opposition to the Tories.

  3. ITs a shame you voted for the shambles of misfits that have missed their chance of being the next government Steve H
    .Has a long time activist I have seen many false starts in the labour party…Kinnocks celebration before meltdown in Sheffield and many others who couldn’t read that the voters want real “CHANGE” not a tribute act that will use the lazy idea of austerity and interest rates to save from a economic meltdown……Have another drink like your leader Steve H and watch the sun go down in your Caribbean bolt hole….

      1. Steve H ITs not the labour party I joined many years ago and it never will be because of people like… you Steve H who have forgotten the words on the back of your members card “we are a democratic socialists party”….Your lot are just standing in the way of a new working class movement whilst pretending to represent the ordinary people of Britain.and trading under the false flag of the “labour party”

      2. Joseph – It doesn’t say much for your powers of persuasion or your confidence in your case if you think I’m the one standing in the way of your particular brand of democratic socialism.

      3. Wee steve h…

        He’s like one of these overeager groupies who pays well over the odds to go to the gigs of a once-decent band…Which no longer has any of its original members and no longer remotely sounds like the original version, but he still throws his y-fronts at them and swoons at every piss-poor cover version they butcher.

        As long as the name’s the same, then the music and the spirit lives on, eh wee gobshite?

      4. Toffee – I’m not the one who’s still living in the past.

      5. Steve H you are standing in the way of not my party,but the working class of Britain….We are looking good in Ireland for the first democratic socialists government in the history of Ireland but that doesn’t mean that the neo liberal nightmare as finished in Ireland with the stitch up of the two party system….weve a wolf at the door in the form of Sir keir starmer who wishes to maintain the “Partition of Ireland and campaign for the partition breaking the long time tradition of neutrality of the lab party
        No sane socialist would like a Labour government especially one that wants a confrontation with Sinn Fein in the gerrymandered six counties of Ulster…..Dont forget that Ulster is the graveyard for many British politicians and I see the same for your leader of the labour party.

      6. Reply to Joseph O Keefe
        You frequently refer to ” gerrymandered Ulster “. is I assume a reference to the last century when an inbuilt Unionist majority was engineered and as a result Unionists controlled the Northern Ireland government, local councils etc.
        Today Sinn Fein is the biggest party in the devolved government and I understand local control has passed to Sinn Fein in most councils too. Additionally Sinn Fein is the largest party in the Republic of Ireland (but is kept out of government by a coalition of the other parties) so your comments about gerrymandering are no longer relevant (unless you are suggesting that Sinn Fein is currently doing the gerrymandering).
        In relation to the unification of Ireland this is up to the people of Ireland. However we are all entitled to have an opinion on this but I doubt very much that Starmer and/or the Labour party will campaign against it despite his comments.
        We all know his word means nothing and in any case I believe he said what he did as part of his campaign to alienate our Irish supporters(just like he has alienated Socialists Kashmiris, Muslims, BAME members, Trade Unionists, Anti Zionists etc)
        I firmly believe this is to further his remit which is to neuter the party, lose the next election, step down and leave the way clear for a Zionist , Socialist free watered down version of the Tories to be elected in approx 2030.

      7. Smartboy I call it the gerrymandered counties of Ulster because the six counties are missing three Ulster counties and the country of Ireland needs to be without a partition and Ulster reunited with the three counties that were gerrymandered out of Ulster a ancient and proud area with some of the best land in Ireland and the best people.who deserve better than British rule.Simple explanation for you I hope!?


      8. Toffee – I’m not the one who’s still living in the past

        You’re living in an alternate reality.

      9. Toffee – I’m happy that I live in a world that is an alternative to the one that you inhabit.

    1. Talking of Neil Kinnock, I posted the following yesterday on JVLs website:

      A few days after the GE in 1992, Neil Kinnock announced that he was standing down as leader, and in his speech he blamed the right-wing press for Labour’s defeat. Here’s an extract from his speech:

      There will be many opportunities to consider the causes and consequences of last Thursday’s election result. I will not dwell on them here. I will content myself, for the moment, with drawing attention to the words of the former treasurer of the Conservative Party, Lord McAlpine, in yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph: “The heroes of this campaign”, said Lord McAlpine, “were Sir David English [editor of the Daily Mail], Sir Nicholas Lloyd [editor of the Daily Express], Kelvin MacKenzie [editor of The Sun] and the other editors of the grander Tory Press. Never in the past nine elections have they come out so strongly in favour of the Conservatives [his little joke!]. Never has their attack on the Labour Party been so comprehensive….. This was how the election was won…..” Lord McAlpine could not be expected to acknowledge the degree of misinformation and disinformation employed in the attacks on the Labour Party, but in other respects his assessment is correct….. I make, and I seek, no excuses, and I express no bitterness when I say that the Conservative-supporting Press has enabled the Tory Party to win yet again when the Conservative Party could not have secured victory for itself on the basis of its record, its programme or its character. The relationship between the Conservative Party and those newspapers which Lord McAlpine describes as being edited by “heroes” is a fact of British political life.

      April 13th, 1992

      1. From Labour Heartlands YouTube site:

        Skinner’s unheeded warning to Kinnock on Labour veering from the left and its shift to centrism

      2. Who in their right minds expects the media to support socialism, ever. Now Blair and Headroom, different beasts entirely.

    2. Reply to Joseph O Keefe
      It is my understanding that gerrymandering occurred after an Irish/UK Treaty split the province of Ulster with 6 counties remaining in the Uk and 3 forming part of the Irish administration. It was this Treaty and resultant separation of Ulster into 2 jurisdictions which ( among other things) caused the Irish Civil War 100 years ago.
      Post the Irish/UK Treaty gerrymandering of electoral wards and constituencies in the UK controlled part of Ulster enabled Unionist control even in areas which were majority Nationalist.
      However as I said this no longer applies with Sinn Fein being the largest party in central and local government.
      I really don’t know why you constantly misrepresent the situation in Northern Ireland. Its all doom and gloom with you , harking back to the bad old days which are long gone
      We should all be glad that things Northern Ireland are better there now for everyone and the days of gerrymandering and wholesale discrimination are in the past. Of course its not perfect – there will always be knuckle dragging bigots about who foster hatred and spread lies and misinformation – but you get that everywhere even on sites like this one.

      1. Smartboy….or not so smart…I can see why you fund the labour fascist regime now
        !You like many ignorant people take Ireland as a political football and you show your ignorance by supporting a misconcieved veiw that the situation is over and done with.
        Nine counties of Ulster is the goal for us Irish born nationalists
        I don’t need a lesson from a fascist supporter of the labour party on Irish history or British imperialism in ireland today
        We in I Ireland will decide but if Ocuppied Ireland and nine counties offends you then do something about it and get out of the fascist labour party.before you do any more damage to Ireland and Britain whos people deserve better than second rate conservative and unionist party tribute acts.

      2. Reply to Joseph O Keefe
        I was not expressing an opinion on Irish Unity one way or another. That is a matter for the people of Ireland to decide. I was simply pointing out that your dramatic and emotive language belongs to the last century and that gerrymandering ended long ago and there is now a Sinn Fein majority in both central and local government.
        I suppose that having been born in Cork (which is at least 200 miles from the border with the UK part of Ulster) and which you left as a child and having lived most of your life between Bolton Surrey France and Cambodia your confusion about the issue is understandable.

    3. I remember the shitehouse vigilante from the valleys meltdown. It will get me through the coming, bitter winter. Oh yes. Oh yes, alright!

  4. You’d think Keef’d have something to say about it, seeing as he used to be the country’s top (prosecution) barrister…Or something…

    I mean…Keef’s the one gave his time & effort pro bono for the mclibel case against McDonald’s…And later in life went on a McDonald’s picket line to explain that ” £15 p/h isn’t asking the earth…

    Except it was when Andy McDonald (no relation) made the exact same claim for workers to receive it. And joining picket lines today is a massive no-no, punishable by deselection and/or expulsion.

    And of course, those Just stop oil protesters who are asking people to preserve the earth are being classed by keef as almost on a par with the terrorists he used to prosecute…Because he was once the country’s TOP barrister.

    Smarmer….The total fuckwit doesn’t know HIS arse from YOUR elbow. Neither use nor ornament.

    But hey?! Nevermind being elected on ten pledges – Every one of which he dropped within less than ten months…Keef’s done a green paper…🤦

    Keef is NOT any sort of friend to the working Joe.

  5. Jeremy may be a lovely symbol for the last vestiges of the deluded ‘what could have been’ movement to gather round, but he’s hardly the person to have an intelligent conversation with about economics or politics (you’ve only got to mention his intellectual triumphs of supporting Venezuela’s crackpot government, the IRA and Diane Abbott as shadow Home Sec! amongst others). The other problem with the Starbucks campaign is Starbucks management’s idea of a conversation with its employees is “Don’t like It? Then F*** Off. Yet they still sell to millions of customers a day.

    1. I doubt you have ever had a conversation with Corbyn….plain citizen so you wouldn’t really know…Before and after Blair jeremy used to call into Reigate CLP and speak to us at the GMC.despite our constituency being a no hope for labour in the Surrey tory heartlands.he made the effort to visit us
      .Kind and a gentleman and never once told the audiance to ” F.off if you cant listen without interrupting ” as Skinner did to one of our persistent offenders.but that was the difference between the two mps one tried to keep the peace and showed respect for everyone,whilst good old Dennis wades in with both boots.and both were the salt of the earth “Opinions formed from the toilet papers means nothing and should along with the paper be flushed down the toilet into the sewers.

  6. Oh lord….Where to start?

    Corbyn is what should’ve been, but the rodents within saw to it he wasn’t

    As a result they have been every bit as complicit as their full-fat colleagues in bollocksing the economy as it stands today.

    Nothing to do with his fully-costed 2019 manifesto.

    And were not hearing anywhere as near as much griping about Venezuela and Maduro today. Last I heard of Maduro he was being rallied around by the rest of South America – who’s peoples and nations are democratically distancing and extricating themselves from US/Western influences.

    Oh ..And now Vlad and his gas & oil aren’t flavour of the month, it now seems Maduro and Venezuela aren’t actually the baddies the west made them out to be.

    And although Abbott was probably promoted to a position beyond her capability, at least she understood that civil liberties are not to be sacrificed for the corporate will.

    As for your IRA inferences, well they’ve been repeatedly repudiated and proven to be bollocks.

    But from the goebbels doctrine of enlightenment… ‘The more shit you throw, the more sticks’.

    And the right are desperate to have that one stick more than anything else.

    https://youtu.be/Rm3d43HLyTI?t=91

  7. Gower-power strikes again on this site.
    It’s totally irrelevant, though.
    What matters is whether the union recognition campaign wins.
    Mind you, it’s good to see that Starmer wants to repeal Thatcher’s anti-trade union laws …………………………. oh, hang on.

  8. The ‘Labour will do this’ argument, even if you believe it, is requiring you to vote for them in 2024 or 2025. Corbyn is acting now, not wanting an electoral award first.

      1. As ever – you’re not.

        Too far up yer own arse – and that’s too far up keefs’ arse; which is in turn too far up Murdoch’s

  9. Corbyn blundered very badly when he appointed Starmer to shadow the exiting the European Union. Yes, there were great difficulties but giving that post to someone who had twice tried to oust him as leader should have raised alarm signals.

    1. Fair point, Tony. There were a lot of things Corbyn got wrong.

      …All outweighed by the things he’s got right.

    2. Tony, Yes agreed Corbyn stupidly believed what Starmer said day in and day out. Corbyn is too honest and a decent human being to be in Toxic Labour. He should bail out, and it’s beyond me anyway why he wants to remain in a Party that is racist, corrupt and bankrupt.

  10. Corbyn was
    (a) Too trusting
    (b) Genuinely wanted the PLP to be inclusive.

    Corbyn was blamed for the Brexit win – when a lot
    of the reason for this was the arrogance some of
    the campaigning by the “Remain” contingent.

    If they had high-lighted the problems bound to
    occur because of the NI border and pointed out
    that the ONLY solution was to remain in the
    SingleMarket etc they might have stood more
    chance. They just did not treat people as
    intelligent beings.

    Lies too were told of Corbyn’s lack of campaigning –
    when he did more campaigning that any other
    in the”Remain” camp.

    Finally – getting back to Starmer – he is a very good
    liar – and blatant. Think about his careful
    answer when asked about Zionism – when he said
    there were nuances to it – which is a good answer
    because to some it means the existence of
    Isreal as a safe place ..

    Just as soon as he was elected he ran straight off
    to LFI etc stating he was100% Zionist. When invited
    by JVL to visit he said “give me time” or words to
    that effect. To no one surprise of course he never
    did have the time – and worse still Evans etc has
    spent his time persecuting them .. To be fair they
    were unfairly treated during Corbyns time too but
    this has got a lot worse now..

  11. Toffee – I’m happy that I live in a world that is an alternative to the one that you inhabit.

    But of course you are. More than content in your safe place, where ignorance is bliss.

    Here’s an idea…how about you wind your fucking scrawny neck in, and desist from dictating to people what you think is best for them, and leave the rest of us to decide that for ourselves, instead of annoying every bastard that reside in the world you’re reluctant to inhabit?

    Knobhead.

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