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To: Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox, Vice Chancellor of Planning, Budget, & Administration Gerard Bomotti, Executive Director of UCR Real Estate Services and Asset Management Thomas Toepfer

Boot Starbucks from UC Riverside!

Dear Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox, Mr. Thomas Toepfer, and Mr. Gerard Bomotti,

As students, staff, and faculty of UCR, we are deeply concerned with our campus’ relationship with the Starbucks Corporation, which has engaged in a scorched-earth union-busting campaign against its workers. Starbucks has committed “egregious and widespread” violations of federal labor law, and a federal administrative law judge wrote that the company displayed “a general disregard for employees’ fundamental rights.” Starbucks workers have won over 340 union elections across 41 states and Washington DC since December 2021, Starbucks has responded by denying these workers boosts in wages and benefits.

UCR was founded on and strives to maintain the Tartan Soul, the four qualities that show the world we are Highlanders. The qualities of Excellence, Respect, Integrity, and Accountability are ever present at this University, and we feel that it should be present in the corporations that we work with as well. Due to their union busting campaigns and their disregard for unionized workers Starbucks has shown they do not share these values. We cannot say that we try to embody these qualities if we continue to work with a company that is anti-worker.
We’re asking you, as the ultimate decision-maker of all things at UCR, to cut ties with Starbucks by ending our University’s purchasing of Starbucks Corporation products and not renewing the Universities contract with them. The purchasing power of universities is significant, and we believe that our school should support Starbucks workers by redirecting that purchasing power to alternative suppliers. Choosing to support an emerging local supplier with a strong labor track record would also demonstrate UCR’s commitment to sustainable and ethical relationships.

UCR likes to boast about how it is ranked the number one school for social mobility, meaning that UCR lifts students to a higher standard of living than when they entered UCR. If UCR is committed to uplifting students and social mobility then it is vital that UCR not work with companies that are engaging in illegal union-busting and anti-worker activities. These actions hurt the very people UCR claims to care about.

After student mobilization at Cornell University, the administration announced that they would not be renewing their contract with Starbucks, it is time for UCR to take similar action. Removing Starbucks from our campus and divesting from the corporation would be an incredible show of solidarity with Starbucks Workers United and employees fighting for the right to form a union at Starbucks, as many of the leaders in this movement are either students themselves or recent graduates. It would also send the message that UCR will not tolerate working with corporations that do not share pro-worker values.

Our campus is a union campus, with faculty, graduate workers, post-graduate workers, student researchers, and staff represented by American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 3299 (AFSCME 3299), University Council - American Federation of Teachers (UC-AFT), United Auto Workers Local 2865 (UAW 2865), United Auto Workers 5810 (UAW 5810), and United Auto Workers - Student Researchers United (UAW-SRU). We believe in the fundamental right of workers to form a union, and we believe that companies who violate workers’ rights to organize and collectively bargain should face consequences. At UCR, we have seen the benefits of strong union contracts for workers and believe that Starbucks workers deserve the same.

It’s time for UCR to say once and for all that we stand by our values, which preserve the rights of workers to vote for or against union representation without intimidation, unjust pressure, undue delay, or hindrance. We must commit to cutting all campus ties with Starbucks because they are a union-busting corporation that has repeatedly violated federal labor law. We must show that UCR embodies our founding principles and will not work with corporations that violate them.

We call for Chancellor Wilcox and Executive Director Thomas Toepfer to end UCR’s licensing agreement with Starbucks and invite a local or student-run business to replace Starbucks at Glen Mor. In this transition process, we demand no changes occur in the payment, staffing, benefits, or number of hours for the dining services employees working at the above-mentioned café. Additionally, we call for UCR to completely divest from Starbucks and remove all Starbucks products from UCR cafes and stores and to commit to making working conditions better for students.

Will you stand with us, or will you continue supporting a company that violated federal labor laws hundreds of times?

Why is this important?

We as students, attending a university that deeply prides itself in its social mobility, should be empowered to find our voices and to achieve the California Dream. We believe that those in charge of our vendors and contractors should strive to partner with companies that encourage this. Those in charge of the University of California, Riverside should embody these values: Integrity, Accountability, Excellence, and Respect. Yet, they violate them by partnering with companies that deny their workers the right to organize, health and safety, adequate wages, and high quality healthcare including access to adequate gender-affirming healthcare. The actions committed by Starbucks as a company defy these values in a way most egregious.

The ongoing history of anti-union exploits committed by Starbucks, aside from flying in the face of the values supposedly held by our university, hurt their workers tremendously and reveal where they truly stand when it comes to people using their voices for real change. One recent and particularly pertinent example of this was when Starbucks sued the Starbucks Workers United union for expressing solidarity with the plight of the Palestinian people. It’s been made clear that UCR students will not support any institution complicit in an ongoing genocide. In response to the rapidly growing unionization movement among its workers, Starbucks has been recognized for violating federal labor law hundreds of times and has had 752 Unfair Labor Practices filed against them.

For these reasons, we the students urge Chancellor Kim Wilcox, Mr. Gerard Bomotti, and Mr. Thomas Toepfer to completely cut ties with Starbucks.
900 University Ave, Riverside, CA 92521, USA

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2024-01-04 08:59:26 -0500

500 signatures reached

2023-11-22 18:54:25 -0500

100 signatures reached

2023-11-22 16:14:15 -0500

50 signatures reached

2023-11-16 17:25:53 -0500

25 signatures reached

2023-11-16 15:56:09 -0500

10 signatures reached