Despite its attempt to create a socially responsible image, Starbucks' baristas are paid a poverty wage, the company provides a low percentage of health insurance, and workers do not receive guaranteed hours. Since 2004, Starbucks workers have been organizing a union to demand fair conditions, in the face of a fierce and unlawful union-busting effort by the world's largest coffee chain.
The full-length documentary I am working on aims to chronicle local and global Starbucks workers’ labor issues and fights in their struggle to secure their basic labor rights. In doing this, the video will discuss how the Starbucks Workers Union formed and how it lives on. Contextually speaking, this work will also portray the myths of how Starbucks claims to treat its workers versus the fact.
Technically speaking, this project will be in Digital Video format. In 2006, I completed a 15-minute short on the Starbucks Workers Union, and in doing so have much of the history and somewhat archival footage saved. Additionally, I have videotaped interviews with baristas and organizers from New York, Chicago, Maryland, and Michigan, and will soon obtain footage from England and Seattle. I also will be traveling to Seattle in March 2007 to videotape and document interviews from Starbucks’ annual shareholder’s meeting, including an interview with company CEO Howard Schultz.
In the past, I borrowed most of my resources, including access to video production and post-production equipment, from The New School. However, I will be graduating in the coming months, and will therefore need microphones, sound equipment, lighting, and access to Final Cut Pro.