By Nathan Jackson Percolating with hundreds of coffee-economic-justice-puns written by the community, we went to Starbucks HQ in the SoDo district to deliver a message to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. TV news cameras rolling, we set up right outside the cathedral looking Starbucks HQ and shared some of the puns that the community had sent in online.
“This CEO just got an 80% raise and now he wants more tax breaks? He’s gotta a latte nerve!”
“Don’t grind the 99%.”
“This new plan to lower tax rates for the rich is nothing but a hill of beans!”
“This tax plan is all foam, no coffee.”
“1% is fine for milk, but the 1% shouldn’t be trying to run the country.”
Since we had already made it clear from the election that we wanted jobs, not cuts we thought a visual aide might help this CEO finally get the message. We made a giant coffee cup emblazoned with a slogan that he would understand, being a coffee man, “Budget Cuts are Bitter Brew.”
We don’t want lower tax rates for the rich and budget cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. We want the rich to pay their fair share and we want our elected leaders to focus on jobs, not cuts.
Bill Neas grabbed the microphone, unsuccessfully tried to ignore the TV cameras, walked in front of our “Jobs Not Cuts” banner and waved towards the Starbucks sign over the entrance to the corporate headquarters.
“We have to understand these rich guys have got the coffee jitters,” he said. “They have to get their tax cuts, slash Medicare and keep us ‘Takers’ in our place. It’s enough to make you feel sorry for them.”
Schultz had forced his DC employees to write messages on customers’ cups calling for Congress to “Come Together” and support the Fix the Debt’s agenda. Their agenda is more of the same from the 1%---lower tax rates for the rich and slashing social services. They want to balance the budget on the backs of the working poor, families and folks who are down on their luck and need a hand up.
It’s the same old plan we’ve tried before. It doesn’t work. It’s time for a new brew, a new plan—and we wrote it on cups.
We marched into Starbucks, pushing past the TV cameras, chanting and smiling and handed our messages to the baristas. We thanked them and some of us even bought some coffee as we left.
We don’t have a problem with Starbucks’ workers; we have a problem with yet another CEO who thinks that he has the right to push his own agenda on our elected officials using his employees as his proxies.
That’s wrong and we will continue to call out CEOs who throw their weight around and press down on working folks.
We ended the day with a “pun-off” in which folks cleverly came up with slogans to leave with the CEO. One woman came up with this gem off the top of her head, “These CEOs deserve to be in hot water for what they're trying to do to our safety net.”
Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.