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NYC activist group calls for national protest against Starbucks

Starbucks baristas should make $15 an hour, activists argue. AP photo

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

On Saturday, April 12, New York City workers and 15 Now activists will be participating in a national day of action to demand that Starbucks’s CEO Howard Schultz put his money where his mouth is and pay his employees a minimum wage of $15 an hour.

Part of a national movement advocating a $15 an hour minimum wage, these protests have been called in response to recent statements by Schultz who opposes minimum wage increases in his home town of Seattle. Though Schultz admitted that Starbucks could indeed manage to pay its employees the proposed $15 an hour that the Seattle city council is currently considering, he claimed that “small businesses would not be able to afford it.”

Schultz argued that any minimum wage increase in Seattle should be calculated by the “total compensation” an employee receives (such as health care, meals and bus passes) and not merely their wage. Advocates from 15 Now vehemently reject this approach and claim that such a “total compensation” approach would undermine the very meaning of a living wage.

Like any CEO, it is Schultz’s job to obtain the highest possible profits for his shareholders, and it is clear that his statements are nothing more than an attempt to use Seattle small business interests as a pawn to secure continued record profits for his company, which has a record of putting small cafes out of business. Cynically hiding behind small businesses while paying your employees low wages is not all right and 15 Now activists are demanding that Schultz immediately raise the minimum wage of his employees.

Groups connected with the national movement 15 Now will be gathering at the Starbucks at 348 Fulton street at 2 p.m. to speak out and protest. Afterwards, they will march together to Borough Hall where representatives of various activist and worker organizations will be speaking in support of a $15 an hour minimum wage for New York.

April 11, 2014 - 1:00pm


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