Starbucks CEO Defends The Union Stance In Front Of The Senate
(CTN News) – As he defended Starbucks’ actions during an ongoing unionization campaign before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Howard Schultz faced sharp questions.
In late 2021, Starbucks workers voted to unionize and Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Independent senator who has supported their efforts, accused the company of stalling negotiations. According to him, labor organizers have been fired by and unionized stores have been illegally closed by the National Labor Relations Board.
According to Sanders, we need a system of justice that applies to all, otherwise corporations and billionaires are free to violate the law.
As per Schultz, Starbucks is appealing these charges and has not violated any laws. In spite of the company’s respect for workers’ rights to unionize, Schultz believes that its wages and benefits are already among the best in the industry.
There is a minimum wage of $13.18 in Vermont; ‘ average starting wage is $17.50.
For many years, unions have benefited American business. According to Schultz, unions usually intervened when employees were not treated fairly in the 1950s and 1960s. “We do not consider ourselves to be such a company. We do nothing nefarious and we put our clients first.”
According to Sanders, Schultz, who stepped down as interim CEO last week, was instrumental in establishing the company’s policies. If Schultz failed to appear before the committee, he would be subpoenaed.
In the United States, there are approximately 293 retailers who have voted to unionize. As of today, neither Starbucks Workers United nor any Starbucks store have reached a contract agreement.
Among Starbucks’ 250,000 employees in the U.S., only 3,400 are unionized, according to Schultz.
Approximately 1% of partners have chosen a different approach, which is their legal right.
The unionization process has been contentious. It is alleged that the company violated labor laws “hundreds of times” during a unionization campaign in Buffalo, New York, a federal judge ruled earlier this month. The decision of the court is appealed by the company. Federal judges have also ordered to reinstate its labor organizers who were fired.
Schultz, who headed Starbucks from 1987 to 2000 and from 2008 to 2017, was appointed interim CEO last April. Starbucks’ new CEO, Lazman Narasimhan, also believes that Starbucks functions better without unions.
As Narasimhan says, “I continue to believe that a direct relationship with our partners is the best course of action.”
Who is currently the CEO of the Starbucks company?
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