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Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to testify before Senate HELP committee over alleged labor violations

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz agreed to testify before congress a day before the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee planned to subpoena him, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said Tuesday.

“In America, workers have the constitutional right to organize unions and engage in collective bargaining to improve their wages and working conditions,” Sanders tweeted. “Unfortunately Starbucks, under Mr. Schultz’s leadership, has done everything possible to prevent that from happening.”

According to Sanders, the National Labor Relations Board issued 80 complaints over Starbucks’ alleged violations of Federal labor law. He charged in his tweet that the Seattle-based coffee giant has refused to negotiate “in good faith” with employees in the 280 Starbucks stores that voted to unionize in the past year.

“I look forward to hearing from Mr. Schultz as to when he intents to end his illegal anti-union activities and begin signing fair first contracts with unions,” the 81-year-old the Democratic Socialist from Vermont concluded.

Schultz, a Brooklyn native like Sanders, started working for Starbucks in 1982 and became its CEO four years later. His position in the company changed several times before he agreed to step back into the role of CEO on an interim basis in March 2022. He hands the reins to executive Laxmi Narasimhan at the end of this month.

The 69-year-old wrote in his 1997 memoir, “Pour Your Heart Into It,” that he hoped Starbucks workers would feel no need for a union, according to CNBC.

“I was convinced that under my leadership, employees would come to realize that I would listen to their concerns,” he wrote.” If they had faith in me and my motives, they wouldn’t need a union.”

The Starbucks Workers Union declared in May that “Starbucks will be a union company!”

Forbes says Schultz — who once owned the NBA’s Seattle Supersonics — is worth $3.8 billion.

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