Both corporate giants have long track records of harassing their workers when it comes to joining unions. Harassment and intimidation are illegal under Federal law, and we won’t stand for it. Tell Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ billionaire owner, to respect the people who work for Starbucks.
“The regional manager literally told us that we weren’t allowed to invite people to union meetings…that’s the same kind of violation that you see at Wal-Mart,” said Erik Forman, a former Starbucks employee fired for union organizing.
Starbucks, like retail giant Wal-Mart, has a well-established history of breaking labor laws. The company has spent millions settling five labor complaints in the past few years alone, and it has fought hard against the Employee Free Choice Act in an attempt to continue intimidating workers hoping to unionize. In 2005, we took on Wal-Mart for their assault on workers with Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price. Now we are exposing Starbucks’ atrocious labor practices in our newest campaign, Stop Starbucks.
Sign the memo insisting Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz allow workers to unionize. Help us reach 50,000 signatures before Congress votes on the Employee Free Choice Act. We will deliver the petition to Schultz, sending the clear message that corporations should support this vital legislation.
There are over 127,000 baristas in our country alone, many of whom are in dire need of better wages, health benefits, and hours. Shouldn’t they have the right to be treated fairly? Sign the memo and tell Schultz to stop his mistreatment of workers.
Put down that grande non-fat caramel macchiato or whatever Starbucks concoction you’re drinking. Turns out the coffee giant has a history of being anti-barista, anti-union, and thus anti-Employee Free Choice Act.
In fact, Starbucks’ nasty labor practices make the company look an awful lot like Wal-Mart. The National Labor Relations Board has repeatedly found Starbucks guilty of illegally terminating, harassing, intimidating, and discriminating against employees attempting to unionize. Starbucks has settled five labor disputes in the last few years in New York, Minnesota, and Michigan, spending millions on legal fees to avoid exposing their anti-worker ways. And Starbucks has led the charge on a so-called Employee Free Choice Act “compromise,” which would require 70 percent of workers to sign union authorization cards instead of the much more manageable 50 percent initially proposed by this legislation.
We’ve known for a while where Starbucks billionaire CEO Howard Schultz stands on unions. After all, it was Schultz who once said that if workers “had faith in me and my motives, they wouldn’t need a union.” While Starbucks pretends to be pro-barista, claiming to offer workers decent wages and health insurance, these “progressive” policies are less substantive than the company’s frothy milk-based beverages. The reality is, as Liza Featherstone has noted, Starbucks insures a lower percentage of its workers than Wal-Mart.
Less than 42 percent of Starbucks’ 127,000 baristas in the U.S. are insured by the company, whereas Wal-Mart insures 47 percent of its employees. To make matters worse, Starbucks offers its workers wages similar to those earned by Wal-Mart employees, and Starbucks does not guarantee workers set hours. Instead, the company follows an Optimal Scheduling policy that requires baristas to make themselves available 70 percent of open store hours just to work full time in any given week. This means that low-wage earning baristas do not have time to take a second job. Moreover, it precludes tens of thousands of Starbucks employees from working the 240 hours per quarter needed to qualify for the company’s health insurance.
Brave New Films is gearing up to take on Starbucks with the same tenacity used in the fight against Wal-Mart. Tomorrow, BNF will spill the beans about Starbucks’ labor practices with the first video in its newest campaign, Stop Starbucks. In the meantime, sign the memo to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz insisting he allow workers to unionize.
’m getting ready to launch NationBuilder in the next month or two, so I’m starting my blog back up and even giving it a name — Make the Future. The name comes from Carl Pope, the long-time leader of the Sierra Club. In This Brave Nation, a documentary series we made at Brave New Films about a year ago, he said: “Just take what you love doing, and do it with enough other people, to make it the future.”
Shortly before the election, I started White House 2 to democratically set the agenda for the incoming Obama administration, and track it like the Nielsen’s TV ratings. There was so much to be done, I wanted people to think hard about what the priorities should be — there was just no way he could do everything at once!
I put the first site up in two weeks, and people from all over the world started contacting me about bringing it to their country. I’ve been working non-stop since then, and am about 5-6 weeks away from beta on NationBuilder, a web service that will let anyone set up their own site just like White House 2.
As we mark Obama’s first 100 Days, there is much to celebrate–from repeal of the global gag rule to the passage of the stimulus and the Administration’s pledge to close Guantanamo. The budget, a smart blueprint to build a new economy, will demand that progressives mobilize to take on well-funded lobbies intent on obstructing real reform.
Yet, as I think about the most troubling aspects of these first 100 days, there are two areas which I fear could endanger the Obama Presidency: the bank bailouts and military escalation in Afghanistan.
Americans deserve a real national debate about the Administration’s plans in Afghanistan–its ends and means and exits–before undertaking such a major military commitment. That’s why Brave New Foundation’s work is so essential: with its new documentary Rethink Afghanistan and online debates such as the one CAP’s Lawrence Korb and I had last week, BNF is fostering the kind of discussion, debate and dissent that Obama has said he welcomes. BNF’s work–along with a network of bloggers, progressive leaders, magazines like The Nation, peace and justice groups–is launching much-needed Congressional hearings on vital areas such as the role and goals of the US military in Afghanistan, oversight of contractors, transparent budgeting and clear metrics to measure progress toward a defined exit strategy.
What’s key at this pivotal moment is increasing the pressure for constructive, smart, effective non-military solutions to stabilize Afghanistan–and strengthen Pakistan’s fragile democratic government. As I argued in the debate with Korb, I believe the more responsible and effective strategy moving forward is to take US-led military escalation off the table, begin to withdraw US troops and support a regional diplomatic solution, including common-sense counterterrorist and national security measures (extensive intelligence cooperation, expert police work, effective border control) and targeted development and reconstruction assistance.
Foreign policy is a tough mess of an issue—and a distant one at that. As a college student, it is so easy for me (perhaps more than others) to think so self-centeredly. I am in the middle of spending thousands of dollars on my education, I have to figure out what I want to do with that education, how I might pay it all off—the list goes on. What I have realized however is that I cannot afford to forget about the harsh realities beyond the American microcosm I call life. Brave New Films has launched a “Rethink Afghanistan” campaign that is zeroing in one of—if not the most pressing—of such issues.
President Obama made it clear that bringing the Iraq War to an end was essential to aide America in nation-building both socially and economically. However, his plan to send over 20,000 to Afghanistan could have serious reparations. Furthermore, this would seem like a considerable step away from the original game plan we all heard so much about during campaign season. Ending “the war on terror” is going to take more than renaming it; serious action needs to follow suit.
But even that action needs to be ignited by a larger group of informed and insistent citizens, including students like myself—who, from what I could tell on election night, were hopeful and empowered by Obama’s victory. If we really respect what this administration sets out to do, we all need to hold it accountable.
Rethink Afghanistan Director Robert Greenwald is currently in Kabul. Here is his account of the intense security:
It’s hard to put into words many things about Kabul, where I’ve been interviewing members of the Afghan parliament, women’s advocacy groups, and former Taliban members who want to negotiate peace.
One of the most sobering things I’ve seen is how security takes over your daily life, and this footage of the front of the hotel tells it all. Guards with machine guns patrol everywhere–the face of a conflict brought home.
Ever wonder where Brave New Films fits in the big picture of new media? You’re here, so you already know what BNF is about (justice), what it makes (online movies), and how it works (video activism: the Web version of grassroots campaigns). But have you ever tried to wrap your mind around the idea that BNF is part of the same new media ecology as Flickr, Wikipedia, Craigslist, Twitter and the open source computer operating system GNU/Linux?
That’s not just some random list of Web sites. They’re all part of a sharing economy; a space that plays by different rules than the marketplace; a messy, labyrinthine networked society where like-minded people can band together and have a kingdom of their own. This place is the commons, and David Bollier tells its story in his new book Viral Spiral: How the Commoners Built a Digital Republic of Their Own.
Bill O’Reilly’s attack on homeless veterans was arguably one of the most noxious, nastiest news stories FOX News spewed during the Presidential election cycle, which is saying a lot. In January 2008, O’Reilly went after John Edwards for calling attention to the 200,000 homeless veterans sleeping under bridges and on the streets. It was a figure substantiated by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Alliance to End Homelessness, but O’Reilly didn’t let a little thing like the facts prevent him from saying there weren’t homeless vets out there. When O’Reilly eventually back-tracked, it was only so far as to state that if there were homeless vets, there weren’t many of them. What’s more, he said their homelessness was due to their own addictions and mental illnesses, not our economy.
Flash forward to last night, when O’Reilly continued to blame everything from homeless vets to Rush Limbaugh’s incendiary comments on the “Far-Left Smear Machine,” as he likes to call us. O’Reilly even used a handy little Far-Left Smear Chart to illustrate exactly how the machine works.
You may have noticed, we’ve given the entire Brave New Films site a new, streamlined, more user-friendly look. We’re now focusing almost exclusively on Brave New Films campaigns. To that end, you will always be able to find our most active campaigns on the homepage. You can also click through to watch past videos from previous campaigns, which we’ve grouped together for your convenience.
Since one of our goals is to build a nation of socially conscious activists, we’ve made it even easier to get involved and Do Something. If you’ve ever shot a YouTube video and want to make a difference, volunteer to become a video activist. Or you can become a distribution advocate and spread important social and economic messages to friends on networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. These are the some of the best ways of telling your story or helping others tell theirs, while also helping us further our efforts to inform the public about pressing issues. And you can do it all without having to sign up for a member account.
It’s also simpler to submit a blog post or comments. We now use Disqus for comments, and while you can sign up for a Disqus account if you want it to remember you and create an avatar, it’s not necessary for submitting or commenting. Oh, and you can also record video comments now too!
Lastly, our media coverage will now be regularly updated in the press section, and anyone can follow our press by signing up for press releases or subscribing to the press RSS feed. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook or Twitter–the fastest ways to stay connected.
Enjoy the new look. We hope you find it as user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing as we do.