Billy Bragg joined members of the Starbucks Workers United union in Buffalo, New York on October 12th to show solidarity with the Elmwood location’s ongoing strike.
The English musician and activist visited the site of Starbucks’ first unionized store in support of a strike that began on October 6th. The Elmwood store, along with other locations, are picketing for fair and safe working conditions in response to alleged retaliation tactics by the coffee corporation that have increased since the union’s successful vote to form in December 2021.
Via a local news report by Buffalo’s WIVB, Bragg performed the classic folk protest song “Solidarity Forever” and more for the audience in the street. He also imparted some wisdom that doubled as fighting words, saying, “What is there to fear in empathy? And the reason they are so afraid of empathy is because if you mix empathy with activism you get solidarity. And that’s what they’re really afraid of.” Watch footage from his appearance below.
Bragg made the detour to Buffalo in-between stops on his ongoing North American tour supporting his 2021 LP, The Million Things That Never Happened. He’s set to perform next in Toronto then carry on to Chicago and Detroit later this week to close out his current run. Following a UK leg to wrap the year, he’ll embark to Australia and New Zealand in early 2023. Check out his full itinerary below and grab your seats via Ticketmaster.
Starbucks has been on the receiving end of much celebrity ire in 2022. Bragg’s sign of support follows recent criticism of the company from Sir Paul McCartney, who requested they lower the price of plant-based milks, as well as actor James Cromwell supergluing his hand to a Starbucks counter on behalf of PETA.
@billybragg says it's all about solidarity. The UK musician and activist rallied with striking Elmwood Ave. @SBWorkersUnited employees today. The store has been closed almost a week because of what baristas say is escalating corporate retaliation. It's a claim @Starbucks denies. https://t.co/MWthDVnPmO pic.twitter.com/Os7PCFdiRa
— Patrick Ryan (@patryanreports) October 13, 2022
SOLIDARITY FOREVER // NEVER CROSS A PICKET LINE!!!
THANK YOU @billybragg for coming to the Elmwood strike! pic.twitter.com/rbWDwwtl8K
— SBWorkersUnited (@SBWorkersUnited) October 13, 2022
Billy Bragg 2022-2023 Tour Dates:
10/13 – Toronto, ON @ Danforth Music Hall
10/14 – Detroit, MI @ Royal Oak Music Theatre
10/16 – Chicago, IL @ The Vic Theatre
11/26 – Swansea, UK @ Swansea Arena *
11/27 – Llandudno, UK @ Venue Cymru Arena *
11/28 – Blackpool, UK @ Opera House Winter Gardens *
12/01 – Bridlington, UK @ Bridlington Spa *
12/02 – Glasgow, UK @ OVO Hydro *
12/03 – Stockton-in-Tees, UK @ Stockton Globe *
12/05 – Portsmouth, UK @ Portsmouth Guildhall *
12/06 – Nottingham, UK @ Motorpoint Arena *
12/08 – Birmingham, UK @ Resorts World Arena *
12/09 – Sheffield, UK @ Utilita Arena *
12/10 – Manchester, UK @ AO Arena *
12/17 – London, UK @ O2 Arena *
02/17 – Wellington, NZ @ The Hunter Lounge
02/18 – Wellington, NZ @ The Hunter Lounge
02/19 – Wellington, NZ @ The Hunter Lounge
02/24 – Christchurch, NZ @ Christchurch Town Hall
02/26 – Auckland, NZ @ Auckland Powerstation
03/04 – Adelaide, AU @ The Gov
03/05 – Adelaide, AU @ The Gov
03/06 – Adelaide, AU @ The Gov
03/10-13 – Port Fairy, AU @ Port Fairy Folk Festival
03/15 – Melbourne, AU @ Forum Melbourne
03/16 – Melbourne, AU @ Forum Melbourne
03/17 – Melbourne, AU @ Forum Melbourne
03/20 – Sydney, AU @ Enmore Theatre
03/21 – Sydney, AU @ Enmore Theatre
03/22 – Sydney, AU @ Enmore Theatre
03/26 – Byron Bay , AU @ The Northern
03/29 – Brisbane, AU @ The Tivoli
03/30 – Brisbane, AU @ The Tivoli
03/31 – Brisbane, AU @ The Tivoli
04/04– Fremantle, AU @ Freo.Social
04/05– Fremantle, AU @ Freo.Social
04/06– Fremantle, AU @ Freo.Social
* = w/ Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott