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New anti-Starbucks campaign takes off

Last week, filmmaker Robert Greenwald sprung into action upon seeing an article in the New York Times about Starbucks’ new multi-million dollar ad campaign involving Twitter. The very same day, Greenwald’s Brave New Films countered by launching the “Stop Starbucks” website, which includes a petition, a new video about the coffee giant’s poor treatment of workers and harsh anti-union stance, and much more. So far, almost 15,000 have signed the petition, and the video has already been viewed nearly 58,000 times on YouTube. On the spur of the moment, the campaign came up with another creative idea for protest. According to a piece in yesterday’s Los Angeles Times:

The anti-Starbucks onslaught also featured an attempted Twitter “hijacking” designed to undermine a Starbucks promotion in which contestants vied for prizes by submitting photos of themselves at Starbucks cafes. The virtual saboteurs forwarded the required “Twitpics” but hoisted signs blaring seditious mottos such as “I want a union with my latte” or Schultz “makes millions, workers make beans.”

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The campaign against Starbucks was timed to coincide with the titanic congressional battle anticipated for organized labor’s major legislative goal: the Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it easier for U.S. workers to choose union representation.

Like most big businesses, Starbucks is opposed to the act. The coffee giant, which generates $10 billion a year in revenue, has joined forces with retailers Whole Foods and Costco in forming the so-called Committee for a Level Playing Field, which is backing what it calls a compromise plan.