Starbucks ex-CEO jostles with Bernie Sanders over anti-union push | Labour Rights News

The coffee chain has been accused of taking revenge on workers who participated in unionization efforts.

The former CEO of coffee chain Starbucks has testified before a US Senate committee, responding to allegations that the company engaged in unlawful retaliation against employees involved in the incident. united efforts.

In a tense exchange, Howard Schultz faced charges of “breaking the union” from Progressive Senator Bernie Sanders, who criticized the former leader’s time overseeing the coffee giant.

“The fundamental issue we face today is whether we have a universal justice system or whether billionaires and large corporations can break the law with impunity,” Sanders said. or not”.

Starbucks, along with other major American brands such as Amazon and Apple, has faced a wave of bids to form a union in recent years, as workers promote better wages and working conditions.

Schultz, who resigned Interim CEO of Starbucks earlier this month, admitted during a committee hearing on Wednesday that union locations were excluded from the pay hike announced in May.

However, he said the company did nothing illegal and fired reverse charge is an “allegation”.

The testimony came as the United States experienced an increase in support for labor activities. Polling firm Gallup found that 71 percent of Americans approve of unionization by 2022, a high not seen since 1965.

IN December 2021, a coffee shop in Buffalo, New York, became the first Starbucks location to successfully vote for incorporation. Since then, about 300 places have voted to follow suit.

But some employees have said they face severe consequences for doing so. In August, one federal judge ruled that Starbucks must rehire seven pro-union workers who had been fired in an apparent retaliation.

Testifying before the Senate Health, Education, Work and Pensions Committee on Wednesday, a disabled veteran and former Starbucks employee named Jaysin Saxton said he was monitored by regulators. and was fired for “disrupting” after joining the merger attempt.

“I didn’t get any criticism or discipline,” Saxton said. “There is no investigation.”

On Wednesday, Starbucks shareholders voted in favor of conducting an independent review of the company’s labor practices to determine whether they violated “the principles of freedom of association and the right to bargain.” collective” or not.

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