The milk in your Starbucks latte, frappuccino and whatever will be coming from Texas instead of from Queens, when the chain breaks its contract with Elmhurst Dairy effective tomorrow. Worse, several hundred unionized New York City delivery truck drivers and other employees of Elmurst Dairy could lose their jobs — and New York City could lose millions in tax revenue — when Starbucks dumps its milk contract with the family-owned Queens dairy in favor of a new contract with non-union Texas-based conglomerate, Dean Foods.
According to the New York Daily News, Elmhurst Dairy — a fifth-generation family-owned business that has been doing business in Queens since 1880 — invested $14 million in new equipment and upgrading its distribution facility in Jamaica when it got the exclusive contract to supply milk and cream to metro area Starbucks outlets in 2003. The contract was supposed to run until 2013. Deans Foods is the parent company for national brands including Friendship cheeses and Land O’ Lakes butter. Elmhurst Dairy reportedly earns half its annual profits from the Starbucks contract deal. Elmhurst Dairy also is the milk supplier to 1,400 NYC public schools and countless mom-and-pop grocery stores and bodegas — which might not be enough business to keep Elmhurst Dairy in business.
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