Former Starbucks CEO to debate Bernie Sanders about employees’ drive for unionization

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Former Starbucks CEO to Debate Bernie Sanders: Introduction

Former Starbucks CEO to debate Bernie Sanders: Howard Schultz, the most well-known former CEO of Starbucks, will testify before a Senate committee on Wednesday and will be questioned by Bernie Sanders about the company’s handling of a unionization drive, including what a labor judge found to be union-busting tactics. Schultz will attempt to portray Starbucks as a “different kind of public company” that “balances profitability with a social conscience.”

Former Starbucks CEO to debate Bernie Sanders: Prepared testimony before the Senate Health

In his prepared testimony before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which ABC News has reviewed, Schultz will contend that Starbucks bargained with workers in “good faith” as they tried to form a union and receive collective benefits.

Former Starbucks CEO to debate Bernie Sanders
On March 7, 2023, Senator Bernie Sanders addresses the media on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Starbucks is dedicated to engaging in good faith collective bargaining for each store that has a union, and it respects the freedom of all partners to choose their own union representation. I accept these obligations,” Schultz will state. While running more than 9,000 company-operated stores in the United States of every size and shape and taking into account constantly shifting consumer preferences, our business requires speed and flexibility.

In addition, Schultz plans to defend Starbucks’ negotiating strategies and blame union organizers for wrongdoing, opposing the pro-union employees of the Seattle-based business.

One email from the Starbucks Workers Union during the “Red Cup Rebellion” in November stated, “Despite being the face of the company, Starbucks partners are underpaid, forced to run perpetually understaffed stores, and don’t have consistent schedules they can rely on.”

Workers are “organizing for a voice on the job and a true seat at the table,” according to Michelle Eisen, a worker at Buffalo, New York’s Elmwood Avenue Starbucks, which opened as the nation’s first unionized Starbucks location.

On April 2, 2019, Howard Schultz was in New York City.

Sanders said Starbucks needs to do more for its employees in an earlier statement announcing Schultz‘s testimony on Wednesday.

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Former Starbucks CEO to debate Bernie Sanders: Starbucks has refused to negotiate in good faith to sign the first contract with workers

Just to be explicit. Workers in America are granted a constitutional right to unionize and bargain collectively for better pay and working circumstances. Sanders said in the statement, “Unfortunately, Starbucks, under Mr. Schultz’s leadership, has done everything possible to prevent that from occurring. Starbucks has refused to negotiate in good faith to sign even one first contract with their workers, despite the fact that over 280 of their coffee stores have successfully voted to establish unions over the past year.

Schultz will assert during the hearing on Wednesday that a large portion of the unfavorable union behavior at his business happened before he took over.

He intends to mention in his opening remarks that the business had “lost its way” before he took over as interim CEO last April.

Over three different terms spanning more than 20 years, Schultz led Starbucks until his most recent resignation last week.

Former Starbucks CEO to Debate Bernie Sanders: The Changes in the Business and Social Programs

He will also discuss the changes he made to the business and the social programs that Starbucks has made available to its partners and staff, including paid sick and parental leave, chances for stock ownership, and mental health programs.

He’ll say, “Our board and leadership are completely in agreement that a direct relationship with our partners, where we have the flexibility to implement improvements in pay and benefits quickly and share success going forward, as we have in the past, is the right path forward for Starbucks, our partners, and all company stakeholders.

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