Bloomberg: Democratic Senators Condemn Starbucks Over Response to Union Drive

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Bloomberg: Democratic Senators Condemn Starbucks Over Response to Union Drive

Senate Democrats are taking Starbucks Corp. to task for reports the Seattle-based company has undermined union campaigns at its locations across the country. 

“We write to underscore that attempts to interfere with your workers’ right to organize is an illegal unfair labor practice,” the senators said in a letter Tuesday morning to Chief Executive Howard Schultz.

The letter was signed by 14 Senate Democrats, led by Cory Booker of New Jersey and Banking Committee Chair Sherrod Brown.

The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Absent on the letter were Washington’s two Democratic senators, Commerce Chair Maria Cantwell and Health, Education Labor and Pensions Chair Patty Murray.   

The labor group Workers United has prevailed in votes at more than 50 of the company’s US stores.

Schultz, who left Starbucks as CEO in 2017, returned to the company in April as interim CEO. On his first day back, he suspended the company’s stock repurchasing program and said the money would be used to invest in employees and stores.

During a May 3 meeting with shareholders, Schultz announced new benefits for employees, including increased sick leave and credit and debit card tipping. But he said all benefits, with the exception of a previously announced pay raise, would exclude employees at unionized locations.

“By offering to increase benefits for your workers, Starbucks is doing what the union campaigns have said all along: Starbucks can and should provide better working conditions and benefits for its workers,” the senators wrote.

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