Photo by Debby Hudson / Unsplash

Why I stopped shopping at Starbucks

Bruce Maples
Bruce Maples

I am a coffee junkie, a coffee connoisseur, a coffee aficionado, dilettante, cognoscente, epicure.

In other words – I like coffee.

And not just any coffee. It had better be well-prepared, and not left to boil away on the burner. As the saying says, “Life is too short to drink bad coffee.”

I visit various coffee shops all over town: independent, chain, whatever.

But I have now removed one store from my many coffee choices: Starbucks.

Oh, it’s not because their coffee is bad. (Although some would disagree with that.) The taste is dependable, the service usually excellent. No, it’s not because of either of those.

It is because of unions. Or specifically, the persons trying to organize Starbucks stores.

In case you hadn’t heard, Starbucks baristas have been organizing across the country – and Starbucks is responding by doing some union-busting.

Here’s an example:

Just google “Starbucks union busting” and you can come up with many more examples.

Interestingly, the union-busting seems to be backfiring. Some headlines:

N.J. legislators sign letter of support for Starbucks union effort

Union wins right to represent Starbucks workers in its Seattle hometown

My small personal effort

I am a big union supporter. I actually joined a union, just so I could help support the labor movement.

So, when I heard about the Starbucks union-busting, I had a choice to make: keep taking advantage of the convenience and enjoyment of driving through a Starbucks to get some coffee that I know will be good; or, stand up for what I believe in, at a very small price to myself.

Pretty obvious choice, isn’t it?

Here’s the message I left on the Starbucks web site (under, ironically, “Corporate Responsibility”):

Hello! I wanted you to know that I have stopped shopping at your stories, and I’ve deleted your app from my phone.

This is due to your anti-union actions, including firing organizers, and using heavy-handed tactics with employees thinking of organizing.

I like your products. I like your service. But I like treating employees as more than “fungible assets” even more. As long as you are trying to crush the union, I won’t be back.

Obviously, Starbucks could care less whether I shop there or not. But I bet they might pay attention if a hundred persons, or a thousand, did the same thing.

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Commentary

Bruce Maples

Bruce Maples has been involved in politics and activism since 2004, when he became active in the Kerry Kentucky movement. (Read the rest of his bio on the Bruce Maples Bio page in the bottom nav bar.)


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