Kim Fellner is the author of
Wrestling with Starbucks: Conscience, Capital, Cappuccino
(Rutgers University Press, 2008).
book dissects Starbucks Corporation, launched in Seattle in 1971, and its
seemingly contradictory behavior in treating fairly its own workers while
exerting paternalistic control and market pressure over local growers, such as in
Ethiopia. Among the ironies Fellner traces is that the fast-spreading
corporation has supplanted the very examples of independent European
coffeehouse culture on which it was modeled. Fellner details how Starbucks
engages in sometimes heavy-handed anti-union activities while it sustains
some of the most employee-friendly practices in American retail business.
Fellner is a former senior staff member of both the
International Union (SEIU) and the
Screen Actors Guild
(SAG) and has been known to speak up in a timely manner to raise issues
of economic justice, disregard for labor, and public integrity. In 1981,
soon after the decision by U.S. President and lifetime SAG member Ronald Reagan
to fire striking federal air-traffic controllers, Fellner faced the
bittersweet responsibility of announcing to the press and the nation that
the union had voted overwhelmingly to deny Reagan an honor.
lives and works within earshot of the machinery of government on Capitol
Hill in Washington, D.C., is also the former director of the
Organizers Alliance and remains a member of the
Union, UAW Local 1981.
Past Progressive Victory Authors of the Month