For more information please call  800.727.2766


U.S. Senate Questions Former Starbucks CEO About Anti-Union Acts

Over the last few years, Starbucks has been the subject of headlines about their employees seeking to unionize. Employees allege Starbucks has made significant efforts to fight these efforts. The Senate demanded that Howard Schultz, the three-time Starbucks CEO who just stepped down, come before and speak about the company's response to union efforts. Employees from almost 300 shops across the country have voted to join Starbucks Workers United. Following these votes, Starbucks has shut down some of those unionized stores and fired some of the employees leading the organizing for alleged misconduct. Federal labor investigators have filed complaints against Starbucks, and administrative law judges have found labor violations in at least eight cases thus far. One judge said Starbucks engaged in "egregious and widespread misconduct demonstrating a general disregard for the employees."

Senator Bernie Sanders accused Starbucks of waging “the most aggressive and illegal union-busting campaign in the modern history of our country.” Schultz asserted that Starbucks has "not broken the law." He denied being a union buster and participating in decisions to fire or discipline workers in union campaigns. However, Schultz did state that he and the company have the right to their preference for a “direct relationship” with employees. Thus far, the union and Starbucks have not reached any consensus on a collective-bargaining agreement. Schultz refused to commit to a timeline by which the company would exchange proposals with the union. He asserted the company is bargaining in good faith. Shareholders recently approved a proposal requiring an independent assessment of how well Starbucks is adhering to its commitment to workers' rights, including efforts to unionize, something the company wanted the shareholders to vote against. Senator Hickenlooper, a self-described "extreme moderate," told Schultz he respected the company's desire to connect directly with employees, "but in many ways that right to organize, and that opportunity for people to be part of a union, is a crucial building block for the middle class."