Starbucks Workers United Stands with Palestine: This is the Way Forward for Labor!

Starbucks Workers United (SBWU) has paved the way and demonstrated what all labor unions should be doing: standing in solidarity with Palestine.

The union released an official statement on Friday, stating “Starbucks Workers United stands with Palestine” and condemning the occupation, state violence, apartheid, and threat of genocide Palestinians face. The statement also condemns the fact that Starbucks has used the union’s support for the people of Palestine as an opening to attack the union.

Starbucks vs. Starbucks Workers United

The union had previously tweeted “Solidarity with Palestine” on October 9, along with a picture of Palestinians on a bulldozer crashing through the Israeli fence that encircles Gaza. This was a bold approach in the context of US politics, and speaks volumes about the SBWU—a new union with an overwhelmingly youthful membership.

Compare this to the pathetically weak statement released by the AFL-CIO on October 11, which condemns the “atrocities” and calls for “a just and long-lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians” in the abstract—while making absolutely no mention of the decades of oppression and humiliation suffered by the Palestinian people.

Zionists and some Starbucks customers responded to SBWU’s position with an immediate backlash, including threats to boycott the company, and the tweet was taken down under this pressure almost immediately.

Jumping at the opportunity to continue the battle against the union, Starbucks then filed to sue the union on the grounds of “trademark infringement” and for damaging its reputation and angering customers with the original post. This is not a novel union-busting tactic. In July for instance, Trader Joe’s filed to sue Trader Joe’s United, arguing the union’s logo on the merchandise the union was selling was too close in resemblance to their own logo.

But Starbucks Workers United, rather than backing down on their support for Palestine, has publicly reaffirmed its pro-Palestine stance, while also refusing to change its logo. This is the way to fight Zionist slander and corporate attacks—no compromises, no apologies! SBWU is also responding in kind to the legal accusations, but ultimately, it is through continuing to expand the union and striking to halt company profits that Starbucks workers can succeed in fending off these attacks and winning better wages and conditions for all workers.

SBWU has shown how to not back down. It is now up to the rest of the labor movement to stand up and fight! / Image: Socialist Revolution

Mobilize organized labor for Palestine!

The communists of the International Marxist Tendency applaud SBWU’s stance and urge them to take things further by putting this statement into practice. Together we can work to mobilize SBWU’s members to attend pro-Palestine demonstrations, organize teach-ins to expose the real history of Israeli occupation and role US imperialism has played in propping it up, and explain the need for all unions to break politically with the Democrats, who are directly responsible for the current crisis.

The most important part of their statement was the ending, which calls on other labor unions to “stand in solidarity with Starbucks Workers United on these two issues.”

This is exactly what is needed. Through cross-union, coordinated action by workers across all sectors, the working class can realize its power as a class. The workers have the power to shut down military production and shipments, as well as the capitalist mass media, which seeks to confuse the real issues at stake in Israel’s assault on Gaza.

Starbucks Workers United has shown how to not back down. It is now up to the rest of the labor movement to stand up and fight!

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