Starbucks CEO: ‘Negotiations should be done face-to-face’

Feb 22, 2023, 9:18 AM | Updated: 9:38 am
starbucks schultz...
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz speaks at the Starbucks annual shareholders meeting in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

Despite accusations that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz won’t deal with the growing unionization issues within the company, he says “We want to, and we need to be entering into negotiations.”

In an interview with CNN’s Poppy Harlow, Schultz said negotiations with workers must be “face-to-face.”

Employees who represent union efforts within the company say the company isn’t willing to have discussions. They also accuse Starbucks of taking punitive action against stores with unions. Starbucks has closed the first store to unionize at Denny and Broadway.

Two hundred-sixty stores have unionized across the United States. The National Labor Relations Board has accused the company of employing tactics to bust the union movement.

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“The only way forward for Starbucks is to follow the hearts and the minds of the people,” Schultz said. “We treat our employees well.”

There are those who disagree. They argue pay, working conditions, and staff shortages have made working at the company’s stores difficult, to say the least.

“In the past, the big mistake of the company was pushing for operational excellence at the expense of the customer experience.”

The 69-year-old Schultz will step away from the company as CEO for the third time in April. He said he will remain on the board but will not be looking over the new CEO’s shoulder.

“We’re all imperfect. I’m still a work in progress.”

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Starbucks CEO: ‘Negotiations should be done face-to-face’