NYC Dairy Workers Fear Grande Job Losses if Starbuck’s Ends Contract

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NEW YORK, N.Y.-- Workers from Elmhurst Dairy milk processor in Queens picketed New York City's City Hall on Thursday in response to reports that Starbuck’s planned to end its contract with their company prematurely.

Elmhurst Dairy has challenged the coffee giant in the state supreme court. And a hearing for the case is set for June 27.

The coffee corporation plans to switch to Dean Foods, a non-union processor outside the city. Elmhurst Dairy representatives say the contract’s end would devastate the plant, which employs 700 people, primarily Latinos, at two locations. Elmhurst Dairy currently supplies milk to 200 Starbucks cafés in New York City via the distributor Bartlett Dairy. Its contract was to last until 2013.

During the protest, 150 Elmhurst Dairy workers gathered on the steps of New York City Hall, where Christine Quinn, speaker of the city council and other members of the council voiced their support for the workers.