AS SHAREHOLDERS GATHER TO DISCUSS RECORD PROFITS, UFW ‘HOLDS VIGIL’ FOR DAIRY WORKERS FACING SERIOUS LABOR ABUSES WITHIN THE STARBUCKS SUPPLY CHAIN
On March 20, United Farm Workers (UFW) will rally and ‘hold vigil’ outside the Starbucks 2019 Annual Meeting of Shareholders. They will be joined by allies from Washington State Labor Council, Fight for $15 and a Union, faith-based social justice organizations and community partners standing in support of dairy workers on Darigold member farms, a major milk supplier to Starbucks. UFW has been reporting a chronic pattern of serious labor violations including sexual abuse, wage theft and illegal retaliation.
Farm workers from eastern Washington will be traveling to Seattle by bus for the event. “I’m coming to directly ask Starbucks and its shareholders to take responsibility for the workers dealing with labor abuses within the Starbucks supply chain,” said Maria Gonzalez, a dairy worker and labor activist who won a settlement with a Darigold farm after the EEOC substantiated her reports of sexual harassment, wage theft and illegal retaliation. “People like me work very hard to build your profits, and we deserve to be safe and treated fairly.”
“McDonald’s and Starbucks are both billion dollar corporations who make record profits from our hard labor” said Ieshia Townsend, a Chicago McDonald’s worker and leader in the Fight for $15 and a Union. “They can afford to pay us a living wage, recognize our right to a union and respect on the job. Fast food workers across the country have been acting like a union to demand an end to sexual harassment, wage theft and other labor violations. That’s why we stand alongside dairy workers to demand that corporations like Starbucks be held accountable for their unfair labor practices.”
Teresa Romero, president of UFW, will address supporters and shareholders at the vigil. “Starbucks shareholders are coming to celebrate their record billions in profits. We’re here to make sure shareholders know what’s happening inside the Starbucks supply chain. We want them to acknowledge their responsibility to the human beings who are working to build their wealth.”
In a recent letter to Starbucks, long-term Starbucks investor Presbyterian Church U.S.A. (PCBUSA) urged Starbucks to help resolve the ongoing labor abuses. “We understand our company, Starbucks, has been sourcing dairy products from farms where workers have faced unsafe working conditions, suffer harassment, and have even lost their lives. These reports are deeply concerning to us as Presbyterians, and as investors. We are very concerned about these workers and the reputational risk Starbucks faces,” stated PCBUSA, citing their church’s mission goals and ethical values. “As a faith-based investor, we believe there is both a moral and a business imperative to address this situation fully and as quickly as possible.”
WHAT: Rally and Vigil supporting dairy workers facing labor abuses within the Starbucks supply chain. (Details of speaking program) and a leaflet campaign to educate shareholders as they enter the shareholders’ meeting
WHO: United Farm Workers, Washington State Labor Council, Fight for $15, allies and community partners
WHEN: Wednesday March 20, 2019, 8:45 a.m.
WHERE: WaMu Theater, Seattle WA
VISUALS: aerial banners, flags, placards and leaflets
BACKGROUND: Begun in 1962 by Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, Gilbert Padilla and other early organizers, the United Farm Workers of America is the nation’s first enduring and largest farm workers union. The UFW continues organizing in major agricultural sectors, chiefly in California. The UFW continues to actively champion legislative and regulatory reforms for farm workers covering issues such as worker protections, pesticides and immigration reform.
More background on the ‘Darigold Dozen’ campaign can be found at darigold.ufw.org