When it was announced a few weeks ago that old warhorse Howard Schultz was coming back as interim CEO for Starbucks it was with the clear understanding that he'd fight tooth-and-nail against unionization, as he's made abundantly clear in the past. And Monday, his first official day back at the job he held for so long, he said he was trying to be careful with his words. Not sure that declaring war on unions was the most diplomatic way to start, but that's his and Starbucks' history. We'll keep an eye on this one, no doubt.
March 16 (Reuters) - Starbucks' longtime former Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz will return temporarily after current CEO Kevin Johnson said on Wednesday that he will retire from the role on April 4th. The moves come as a unionization drive at the company's U.S. cafes heats up.
A federal labor board has accused Starbucks (SBUX.O) of unlawfully retaliating against two employees in a Phoenix, Arizona, cafe for trying to organize their store and one investor group is urging the company to take a neutral stance toward unionization.
The group, led by Trillium Asset Management and SOC Investment Group, said Starbucks risked damaging its positive reputation as a pro-employee brand by fighting the union.
Schultz has long said Starbucks did not need unions because it works so closely with employees, whom it calls "partners."
And what has he said in the past?
- SCHULTZ COMMENTS PUBLISHED IN 2012 EDITION OF HIS BIOGRAPHY: 'Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time'
"I was convinced that under my leadership, employees would come to realize that I would listen to their concerns. If they had faith in me and my motives, they wouldn’t need a union."
- SCHULTZ ON MSNBC MORNING JOE IN JANUARY 2019:
"If you look at the history of unions, unions arrived in America because there were a lot of bad actors, bad actors of companies."
And so on and so on.