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July 25, 2011


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This is complete and utter lunacy. The Chilean partners making 30% above industry average somehow can't afford lunch? I'd like a stipend so I could eat at the steakhouse downtown for lunch everyday, but I'm not going to get that from any employer. I'd also like the bonus that my manager gets when we kick ass, but she has more responsibility than I do and I see it as something to aspire to.

There's no such thing as a free lunch, and just because someone else gets X it doesn't mean I'm entitled to it also. This is just the latest case study in how unions are delusional entities fostering selling you a false sense of superiority and inflated self worth in return for dues.

Bring it, James and the SWU. I look forward to deflating your self-important grandstanding.

Jeff Tom

God, unions are worthless.

Look at them in every industry. A bunch of entitled crybabies. Every time they throw a temper tantrum, it impacts their customers, you know, the one's that make the company successful. And whenever the company caves to these cretins, the costs are passed along to the customers. And in THIS case, the extra demands are ridiculous and shows how out of touch they are with the rest of the community and economy.

Yeah, what a way to win over support.

reasonable fella


Liberte Locke, union barista for five years, my favorite drink is union-made

So, of the above commentators...which of you is truly an antiunion customer that has no gratitude or respect for the workers you depend upon to make your specalty beverage and then which one is Starbucks' Public Relations firm rep. responsible for montitoring Starbucks brand image online through the Edelman firm? Hmm...who wants to take bets.

All I'll say here is 30% above an industry standard in Latin America where nonunion workers are treated extremely poorly isn't saying much. In Chile, baristas are paid $2.50/hr while selling the drinks at US Prices. This is not about a "free lunch" as was coined above by someone who doesn't seem to know the feeling of working & yet not being able to afford to eat. A steakhouse was mentioned, nice try. Tell me how times a month you'd be buying steak on the $100/mon stipend that they are demanding. Must be some pretty cheap steak.

Also, I'm profoundly grateful to the good-intentioned customers out there that show their support for our struggle as workers at this multi-million dollar company that's willing to literally watch their workers starve in front of the Partner Support Center in Santiago, Chile, during their current hunger strike, instead of simply paying a living wage, a lunch stipend, provide uniforms, & provide a way to get to work where there is no public transit...this are all their current demands.

If you truly, in your heart, see workers as worthless than I worry about how you see yourself, your family members, and your children who may one day be wearing this green apron. If you work for someone else, you are a worker. Do you have so little respect for yourself and for your fellow humans? If so, that only points to larger personal issues of selfworth that no blog or cappuccino will remedy. I wish you well.

And thank you to those that may never comment but have our struggle in your hearts & minds. If I wouldn't be reprimanded for it at work, I'd give you an extra shot of espresso or syrup on the house next time I take your order. Thank you for the respect.


"instead of simply paying a living wage, a lunch stipend, provide uniforms, & provide a way to get to work where there is no public transit"

A higher wage is one thing (although I'll admit I know nothing about the economics of Chile), but the other requests sound fairly unreasonable to me. But good luck to them.


@Liberte. I'll join the union when they put me in a cave with no water and a canary.


before most unions became the bloated corrupt forms of politics they are now, they were a good thing, most of the things we take for granted while we are working are because of unions. Chile is not as far advanced when it comes to this at the moment. Us at starbucks in the U.S. may not need a union, but that does not mean those in chile don't. do not displace frustration with our unions, for what they may need.

and when it comes to hardball negotiation, you always start high, and end up in the middle, so "unreasonable" will work out to reasonable.


@Stan, your comment about unions and politics indicates to me that you know little to nothing about the Starbucks Workers Union and IWW, which has consistently rejected participating in electoral politics for over a century.


ugh, i hate reading comments from the "union" people on this forum. blah. done reading the thread. they all sound the same and they insist that anyone who disagrees with them MUST be corporate pr people. rofl. whatever.


and if you google cost of living in chile and in the usa you see that very few things are equal, but a lot are much cheaper in chile. their average wages are 1/3rd what ours are here (which for a barista making $2.50 there would be equal to a barista making $7.50 here) but things like rent etc are also 1/3rd of the cost here. if you try to compare apples to oranges it always looks different. obviously they are not going to get $7.50 an hour as a barista in chile, and they do get other benefits like health insurance coverage etc (as we do here). i would be interested to know what grocery stores or restaurants or gas station attendants or shoe shiners or cooks are paid... i bet it is less than the baristas are being paid. if starbucks was paying them less than average pay or "minimum wage" i would understand the fuss.


per capita income in the usa: $33,070 per person.

per capita income in chile: $4,418 per person.

*average wages are a LOT lower in chile*

James Connolly

I can only echo what my union sister Liberté has said, and far more eloquently that I could. This isn't just about economic renumeration, but respect. Our comrades down in Chile can't afford a tall latte after working for an hour. With the deluge of money that flows through the hands of the people actually selling the beans, making the drinks, and getting the pastries, you'd figure Starbucks would show everyone that actually earns it that profit enough respect to pay a living wage. But no, our friends in Santiago had to go out on strike, and now on hunger strike, because men like Howard Schultz and John Culver don't have any respect for the people who actually do the work and earn the profit.

It's a pathetic state of affairs.

Coffee Drinker

As one who has lived and worked in third world places, and traveled a lot. It's not unusual that someone working in a place couldn't afford to eat or shop there. This is true in the U.S. as well, tho not as widespread.

W/o knowing specifics, I don't find it hard to believe the Chileans ask for lunch. It may be related to transportation, location, cleanliness, cost. The fact that SBUX charges U.S. prices in a third world area is interesting; this tells me it must be a rich or touristy area, perhaps near hotels and/or in large cities?

One thing I know: to try and reproduce the U.S. way in Chile isn't going to fly; won't happen.

I would personally like to see them get lunch; that may be a more important benefit to them than beans and drinks benefits, whatever those are.

I'm stuck on the idea Starbucks is charging U.S. prices, yet paying such low, low wages. Hmmm; that doesn't feel right I have to consider it more and reflect on my past experience; Years ago I worked in the Dominican Republic and I think we imports made higher wages than the locals doing the same job...But we had others costs, more education, and it was the only way we could afford to be there.

I wish the Chileans all the best in their work and negotiations, definitely with lunch included!

Coffee Drinker

re working somewhere but can't afford to eat or shop there: For example Las Vegas, the Bellagio Hotel; surely many of the workers can't afford it. It's not that hard to imagine when you think of it.

Barista Ben

This seems more like a issue with the country Chile and less an issue with sbux. I bet all the other American retailers there pay even less.

It's a shame for them and probably the majority of workers in Chile.


James.....you make me want to throw up... I hate everything you stand for. Sincerely a man with a spine and work ethic.


And, James you sound communist...go to China. Commrade.

James Connolly

Yes, god forbid people get paid a living wage by a highly profitable company. This truly makes me one of the worst people ever.

Get a grip, Northwest. You are clearly not wrapped too tight.

Time To GO!

@James. Liberte and the IWW are a disgrace to New York City and the people who work hard to make a living here. Your organization is the equivalent of the playground bully. The management team in New York City is one of the hardest working I have ever encountered in retail anywhere. Liberte and the IWW who pin-up their hats should be ashamed of their behavior and also learn to simply be workers amongst workers. The sincere lack of concern for others is quite bothersome and simply revolting. I remember several years ago a deluge of harassing phone calls going to a Store Manager's cell phone. Do you believe that is just and fair? Why don't you and Liberte look at your actions and judge yourselves before judging others.

Jeff Tom

Why is it all these union boys think they deserve a "living wage" while working at a fast food joint? This is not a skilled position. It is not "rocket science". It is taking money and serving coffee, a very low skilled job. As such, the pay reflects the required skills. And god forbid Starbucks actually provides some beenfits, a lot more than other fast food joints.

If you want a "living wage" develop some needed skills where people will pay you for the value of those skills. And consider college. But not a liberal arts degree, otherwise you will be back at Starbucks working.

Time To GO!

Yes Jeff, Yes. Well said.





This whole union thing just needs to go away. Comrades I've heard, a militant workforce I've heard.....it's people who follow communisim. Move to China I heard. If union people cannot appreciate what we have as a country, maybe they should go somewhere else for a while so they realize what they have. Frankly, people starving themselves proves no point, it just makes them hungry. In time, it will all be forgotten and will they be ahead? No.
Most of the union people I know are screw ups who are on the verge of screwing up one more time and have to have someone to hide behind so they can, if fired, claim union busting and go from there. It's pretty pathetic and you self-entitled slackers need to get a life. Your tactics are morally wrong, and though you claim to be the oldest union, you can see how far you've gotten in 100 years. No one recognizes you. You don't have collective bargaining with any company and you're truly just a gang of thugs who threaten other workers who do not wish to think the way you do and make our customers feel like crap with your stupid pickets.
BTW, I've noticed in a few of your pictures one barista in particular who is proudly wearing a hat and pin with a marijuana leaf on it. Are you all for legalizing drugs too? That might explain a few things.
This union thing infuriates me and I have to stop now. I love my non-union store, and non-union partners. IWW just needs to find another cause. Go unionize bowling alley employees or something.


I know quite a bit about the IWW actually, and their anarchistic roots, up to and including their ideas about its never enough. which would end up becoming the bloated corrupt system i'm talking about. I know plenty about the IWW. while i also know that the IWW now doesn't resort to the sabotage of corporate property like it used to, the union still has the idea that "it is never enough" so it doesn't matter what the chilean employees get, there will be more that they need.
the IWW doesn't have proper economics in mind, the world needs ditch diggers, and people to serve them coffee. the fact of the fact that i didn't come out and fully bash your union when i said unions were good at one point should've not made you call me.
for the job we have as starbucks employees we have it pretty good in america, will there be complaining, yeah. could things be better, absolutely. but we are not opressed, we are not underground without food for 12 hours a day. we are not facing being shot for striking.
what i know about unions in america now in this day and age is exactly what the stereotypes say, because thats what i see.
Unionized public work takes weeks, when it could take days. unionized grocery stores prices are inflated causing the death of grocery stores, because.... costco and walmart don't have to bend.
the union has it wrong, "living wage" is not the same as a "fair wage for what you do"

The IWW maybe should focus itself on things that are more important, how about a 40 hour work week, so we can earn enough to live, a true full time position for non-management. sick days... how about those? it's a danger to the public health if i'm sick and still have to serve because i couldn't find coverage,or just plain need the money to eat. instead you worry about someones wiccan symbol, when no religions symbols are allowed to be shown.

chiles economic, political, and labor movements are things that i don't know that much about but my opinion is that they don't have as good labor laws as america, so they probably could gain some things out of this strike.

when the IWW comes here to spout their business, sometimes they make good points, and most just say shut up we don't need a union, i doubt as many people have done the research i have when it comes to this.


I'm not a member of the union, nor am I complaining per SE about my wage (though, like most people, I do suffer under the delusion that more money would be nice,) but I think living wages should be paid for most every job. Do I think that'll happen? No. Wouldn't that be lovely? Yes.

I may be crazy, but if folks had enough money to pay their bills and stay healthy, would they not then be better workers when it came to their jobs?

James Connolly

I had a long reply to everyone that got ate by TypePad, so I"m only going to touch on a couple things since I'm on my way to work in a half hour.

@Time to GO!: The only time the IWW does a mass call in on a manager is when said manager has fired a union member over some bullshit. If a manager doesn't want a mass call-in, treat our members like people and don't fire them over lies. This is apparently too difficult for the 'hardworking management team' of NYC to grasp.

@Jeff Tom: Why is the company entitled to more of the value of my labor than I am? Baristas like me go out every shift and make the money that buys Howard his private jets and his forty million in compensation. Without us, he'd actually have to work for a living. And with the profits this company earns because of the people working in the stores and in the roasting plants, the least Starbucks could do is pay us a better percentage of what we make for the company.

@Stan: Union workers aren't the problem in this economy. Lest we forget, it was Wall Street and arrogant businessmen like Howard Schultz who cratered this economy. As it is, there are plenty of successful unionized enterprises like UPS and Ford, and there are plenty of unionized public sector workers who carry off prodigies while being disrespected continually in the media (Carmageddon in LA was done by union workers employed by the government and they had it finished ten hours early). Also, important to note that Costo has several unionized locations and the pressure applied by the IBT keeps wages and benefits decent.

While I appreciate your willingness to engage, and you are right that there will always be a need for ditch diggers and coffee slingers, that shouldn't preclude them from making enough money to live on without working two or three jobs, especially when the company I sling coffee for is as successful as it is and pays us the pittance it does.

Time To GO!

@James....then quit. Please, do everyone a favor and quit.


Yup. James should go. If he spent half the energy he wastes bettering himself, he wouldn't be complaining.

James Connolly

@TtG!: Because I wasn't raised to run from fights that someone else started with me.

@spence: Time spent organizing is time spent bettering myself and bettering my situation.

Time To GO!

@James. Who started a fight with you? Someone stupidly offerred you a job to work for their company. It's not YOUR company. You work there. You are an employee. You get and deserve the pay of an employee. It will be a shame when the real world shuns you for these actions. These are behaviors of ill-disciplined children.


Yup pretty much my thoughts give it up James! You kinda suck...

Jeff Tom


I am sorry your life choices were so poor that you did not develop marketable skills.

Serving coffee is not and should not be a career. You should not be able to afford a house serving coffee. It is NOT a job that deserves "living wages. For those baristas in cities like NY or SanFran, where the cost of an apartment is in the thousands.... a living wage would have to equate to what a professional (i.e., someone with a college degree of value or can perform a skill of value) earns. Someone who serves coffee DOES NOT WARRANT THIS.


Why is serving coffee different than working on an assembly line or delivering packages? Does my garbage man not deserve a living wage? i don't see what the witless banter is about.


Stan "The IWW maybe should focus itself on things that are more important, how about a 40 hour work week, so we can earn enough to live, a true full time position for non-management. sick days... how about those? it's a danger to the public health if i'm sick and still have to serve because i couldn't find coverage,or just plain need the money to eat. instead you worry about someones wiccan symbol, when no religions symbols are allowed to be shown."


Jeff Tom


No, it does not.

Does a basketball player deserver millions of dollars? I say no, but economics differ. Yes, a star player may drive revenues because fans will come to see him/her play, but in reality, most members of a football/baseball/basketball team do not earn the millions. They earn the team/league minimums. They are paid what they are worth.

Plus your anlogy is poor. A garbage person is a mandated role (by cities) that are required to maintain the general health of a community. You really cannot opt out of garbage delivery. Even if you live in an apartment, part of your rent goes to pay for garbage delivery service.

Assembly line workers make all sorts of different rates depending on what they are assembling and where. Workers at the car companies or Boeing make a hell of alot more than ones that do textiles, etc. Again, the workers are paid what the value of their work is to the marketplace.

Starbucks is a fast food restaurant. The workers are paid the market value of their work. Unions impose false and inflationary pressures that do not reflect the value of the underlying work.

Just because a company is profitable, it does not mean the workers must or have to share in that profit. That is up to the company. If you, as a worker, do not like it, you are free to look elsewhere where you think you skills will be better valued. You are not Starbuck's bitch, although you act like it.

Sick days - a privelege/benefit. Not a right. Sorry. At my company, I get 25 vacation days, 10 sick days, plus holidays. My wife, not even half that. Is it fair? That is debatable, but I am worth it to my company, so they give it to me. Again, I am rewarded for my skills.

Now, I WILL agree with you in at least one area. SB practice of not letting partners work a 40 workweek is bullsh*t. What they are doing IS legal, but I think it is still bullsh*t. But if you do not like it, go somewhere that will let you have your 40 hours.


@jeff tom

why we deserve sick days.

because if i'm sick, and i serve you coffee, you have the higher rate of getting sick, and i'm not getting the rest required to make my sickness go away quicker. I can call out, but while i'm sick i have to stay up and call my whole store to cover my sickness, and then i have to go to other stores. after that, i have to worry about others hitting overtime, so I, and they don't get yelled at by management.

or do you think that starbucks shouldn't care about the health of their customers?

it's good business for all involved to give sick days, wanna know why? because I need the money more than I need the rest when i'm sick, so guess who goes to work sick.

James Connolly

Video of the Chilean baristas on strike squaring off against the cops.



Where are the moderators on this forum? I think there are some personal attacks that need need to be dealt with.

Oh, and I love how the "market" can dictate both extremely low wages for front line workers and "the greatest expansion in wealth for the top 2%" in the history of this country.

James Connolly

wasatech, it's almost as if the way we organize society right now inevitably leads to iniquity and the reallocation of wealth upwards by not paying people the full value of their labor if there is no concerted effort to prevent that from happening.

joanne cruz

you know the thing about living in a democratic society is everyone has a choice. You were not forced to work at Starbucks sooooo you can leave and go get a HIGHER paying job any time your ready. OR better yet start your own company become the CEO and then you also can have a private jet to get around in. People that have a sense of entitalment NEVER amount to anything. Its KARMA. Karma will take care of everything for you. Just keep striking and loose your job(because believe you will be replaced very quickly and easily) and then you can stand on the street corner and complain to anyone who will listen to you! If you don't like the free market than move to Venizuela or Equador. Or better yet Cuba. I hear they treat their people really well.

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