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Starbucks boss to testify before Senate over treatment of unions

Howard Schultz

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz will testify before a Senate committee over reported union-busting.

Schultz's appearance comes after pressure from Senator Bernie Sanders over the company's behavior towards unionizing staff.

The Senate's Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee voted to subpoena Schultz on Wednesday morning, March 8.

He previously declined a request to appear for a hearing. 

Read More: Starbucks illegally fired union staff in a “reign of coercion”

Sanders, a democratic socialist representing Vermont, chairs the committee.


Mr. Schultz is now scheduled to testify at a hearing on March 29.

Starbucks said: “Through the agreement reached today, our testimony will seek to foster a better understanding of our partner-first culture and priorities.

“Including our industry leading benefit offerings and our long-standing commitment to support the shared success of all partners.”

Read More: Starbucks corporate staff lose faith in company values as union battle continues

In February, Starbucks’ general counsel argued Schultz is leaving, which means it would be more appropriate for another senior executive with ongoing obligations to testify.

Schultz will be succeeded by Laxman Narasimhan, who takes over as CEO in April.

But Mr Sanders: ″[Schultz] will remain on the board, he is the CEO today, and he would be the CEO when we invited him ... it is clear to everybody that it is Mr. Schultz who sets the policy of that company.”

National Labor Relations Board data shows 290 Starbucks locations voted to unionize on Tuesday, March 7.

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But despite Starbucks Workers United winning its first election a year before, none of the stores have come to a contract with the company.

In fact, Starbucks has been more aggressive in its resistance to the union effort since Schultz took to the reins of the firm in April of last year.

The union has filed over 500 unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB, including accusations of retaliatory firings and store closures.

The Seattle-based company has also hiked wages and benefits of non-union workers. 

Starbucks has filed over a hundred complaints against the union, claiming coercion and harassment.

Source: CNBC

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