/** reg.guatemala: 131.0 **/
Starbucks Campaign on Hold
US/GLEP release, 12 May 1997
Starbucks recently informed the U.S./Guatemala Labor Education Project that it has decided to explore the feasibility of a pilot project for implementing its code of conduct for growers of its coffee in Guatemala.
US/GLEP welcomes this important development and potential breakthrough with Starbucks. It marks a major change in direction compared to the company's statements earlier this year that the company did not intend to monitor whether growers of its coffee meet certain standards with respect to treatment of their workers as set forth in Starbucks code of conduct.
US/GLEP is therefore putting its Starbucks campaign on hold for the time being, pending further discussions with Starbucks regarding the nature, scope and timeline for the feasibility study. Starbucks and US/GLEP will meet later in May. Starbucks also intends to meet with other groups both in the U.S. and Guatemala in conducting the feasibility study.
In early March, US/GLEP had announced a new campaign to persuade Starbucks to implement its path-breaking code of conduct for the suppliers of its coffee. Starbucks "framework" for a code of conduct, as the company calls it, was issued in October 1995 after an initial campaign organized by US/GLEP persuaded the company to agree to adopt what is the first-ever code of conduct issued by a commercial U.S. coffee company. Starbucks had agreed to start implementation of its code in Guatemala. US/GLEP decided to resume its Starbucks campaign work this year after the company failed to move forward on the campaign and appeared to be reneging on its commitment to implement a code of conduct by rejecting the concept of monitoring compliance.
Ironically, while US/GLEP's campaign is now on hold, the company may become the target of an international boycott led by the Canadian Auto Workers union. Last year the CAW in Vancouver, British Columbia successfully organized the first union at Starbucks stores in North America, as well as at a distribution center in Vancouver. The company recently announced it was closing the distribution center and cut the hourly pay of its B.C. workers from $7.50 to $7. The union says that the company is bargaining in bad faith and has set a strike deadline for May 16, 1997. To its credit, the CAW local has raised with Starbucks the issue of the company's commitment to its code of conduct and implementation in Guatemala.
For more information on this struggle and what you can do, contact the Citizens Group in Support of Starbucks Workers at CAW Local 3000, 326 12th Street, New Westminster, B.C. V3M 4H6, Canada. Tel: 604-522-7911. Fax: 604-522-8975.
US/GLEP will notify supporters of developments with Starbucks, whether and when it appears that a resumption of the campaign will be needed, and the CAW situation. People who ordered campaign kits will get their money back if it becomes clear that there will be no campaign for at least the next few months.