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Kim Fellner

Kim Fellner is the author of Wrestling with Starbucks: Conscience, Capital, Cappuccino (Rutgers University Press, 2008).

The 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 Service Employees 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.

Fellner, who lives and works within earshot of the machinery of government on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., is also the former director of the National Organizers Alliance and remains a member of the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981.

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Past Progressive Victory Authors of the Month

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Bart Gellman
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Calvin Kytle
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William Eskridge
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Nancy Grace
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Bernie Horn
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Amy Hoffman
* Kate Michelman
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Bob Moser
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Naftali Bendavid
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Tommye-K Mayer
*
Richard McCann
*
Lisa Dickey