Sunday, April 08, 2007

Starbucks: fair trade or fair trade?

"On March 30, the National Labor Relations Board's New Yourk office delivered a stinging accusation against one of the city's- and the nation's - most popular retail outlets." Starbucks is under the gun. According to the April 8 NYT's Week In REview article by Daniel Gross, Starbucks is firing employees who are supportive of unionization. It seems that this wonderful retailer of great coffee pays it's Manhattan baristas $8.75 per/hour and does not want to be forced to pay more.
That's too bad. It's such a cool place to drink coffee, hang out and do wi-fi. There are well-publicized promotions for their venture into eco-friendly coffee and farmer friendly ways of buying more directly from producers. But what about at home?
I know at the churches I have served we have run into the ethical line; keep a person part-time and avoid paying full-time benefits and maybe create multipe part-time positions. Or pay a person a living wage including good health care insurance?
Unions are seen to be old dinosaurs of back-rooms filled with cigar-smoking crooks or Washington DC fat-cat lobbyists. But who does speak for the working poor?


At 9:40 AM , Blogger kent said...

How do you live on $8.75 per hour? That may be fine for the high school student but someone who is trying to live on NYC that does not seem workable. If coffee is at least $1.50 per cup, often going to close to $4.00 per cup why can't they pay a competitive wage?

At church how can we not pay a living wage? We have to be a voice for those who need one.

At 11:10 AM , Blogger Kalon said...

Agree absolutely that the church should be out in the forefront of this issue. We need to take Luke 10.7 seriously.

This should not be a political issue, but a moral one.


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