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VIDEO: Hickenlooper Presses Starbucks ex-CEO Schultz on Workers’ Right to Unionize

Mar 29, 2023

Employees at four Colorado Starbucks locations joined nationwide strike this week

For Full Video of His Remarks, Click HERE.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper today pressed former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on the company’s reluctance to recognize employees’ efforts to unionize. In a Senate hearing in the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), Hickenlooper pointed out that the company’s purported worker-centered business model does not align with their public reluctance to recognize employees’ constitutional right to engage in collective bargaining. 

Schultz was called to testify after failing to negotiate a single contract with the nearly 300 Starbucks locations across the country that have successfully unionized. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued over 80 complaints against Starbucks for violating federal labor law and there have been over 500 unfair labor practice charges lodged against the company.

Hickenlooper: “As the middle class has shrunken and as income inequality has increased dramatically it has directly coincided with the decline in unions… At its core, I think union organizing is about having a greater say in the workplace. What do you say to the workers that want to join together with their peers to unionize their workplaces?”

Schultz: “Unions have served an important role in American business for many years…Unions generally were working on behalf of people in a company where those people have not been treated fairly. Based on the track record we have had, I do not believe that we are that kind of company.

Prior to the hearing, Senator Hickenlooper sat down with Colorado Starbucks employees leading the unionization effort in the state. Hickenlooper expressed his support, emphasizing that all employers must comply with federal labor law. A federal judge ruled last month in favor of workers at a union store in Denver.

Full video of the exchange is available HERE.


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