Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz Invited to Testify in Front of Senate Panel on Labor Law Violations

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Senate Democrats have invited Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, to testify in front of a Senate panel on labor law violations. In a letter signed by all the Democratic members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) on Thursday urged Schultz to appear at a March 9th hearing to discuss labor law violations within the company.

“Please consider this letter an invitation to testify before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) on March 9, 2023,” the senators wrote. “We look forward to seeing you. We greatly appreciate your assistance to the HELP Committee.”

Since the first store voted to unionize in December of 2021 in Buffalo, workers at more than 350 Starbucks in nearly 40 states across the country have held votes to unionize, citing various concerns – from safer working conditions during the pandemic and better wages, to better benefits and more reliable schedules.

Despite this growing movement, the $122 billion-dollar corporation has fought their workers every step of the way, including refusing to bargain a first contract in good faith, delay tactics, and a significant escalation in union busting. There have been 500 unfair labor practice cases filed against Starbucks and its affiliates. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued 75 complaints in response to those charges and has sought emergency preliminary injunctive relief in five cases in the Federal courts.

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Sanders has sent three letters to Schultz in the last year calling on the CEO to end the egregious union-busting campaign the company has deployed against its own workers. Schultz has not yet responded to or provided the documents requested in the most recent letter Sanders sent in January 2023.

The Democratic members of the HELP Committee asked Schultz, who during the pandemic became $800 million richer and is now worth $3.9 billion, to respond to the invitation confirming attendance to the hearing by February 14.

Read the full letter here.

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