For many of its employees, Starbucks is not a good workplace. The starting wage often is $15 an hour. Starbucks does have reasonable benefits for some. Yet, everyone who works there knows the company is wildly profitable and once and future CEO Howard Schultz is a billionaire. Schultz has been battling with unions for the company’s future. Based on a new court ruling, at least in some geographic areas, he is losing. This means the unions could drive a wedge more deeply into Starbucks. (Click here for the 25 brands customers are abandoning.)
A recent headline in The Guardian read, “Starbucks condemned for ‘intimidation’ of US union organizers.” Federal labor law violations are one issue. Another is the accusation that 60 union leaders were fired. This accusation is from the powerful National Labor Relations Board.
Several members of the U.S. Senate have tried to get Schultz to testify on labor matters They have had no success.
Starbucks has a market capitalization of $118 billion. It had revenue of $32 billion last year and a net income of $3.3 billion. Its total assets are almost $28 million. Schultz said when the earnings for the most recent quarter were released, “Starbucks performance in Q1 demonstrates the strength and resilience of our business and accelerating demand for Starbucks Coffee all around the world.” Workers did not benefit meaningfully.
Schultz is among the richest people in the world. His net worth is $3.8 billion. He has his own venture capital firm, which Forbes says has invested in Groupon, Madison Reed, Allbirds and Lucy. His lowest-paid workers make little more than a living wage.
Schultz may soon be forced to appear before the Senate. The results will not be pleasant, nor should they be.
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