Starbucks CEO’s Anti-Union Comments Straddle Line of Legality


·         Top executive took shot at union in public interview

·         Comments could be used to show bad faith bargaining


Robert Iafolla, Bloomberg Law

June 14, 2022


Starbucks Corp. CEO Howard Schultz’s disparaging comments about workers’ organizing efforts escalated a lengthy battle with employees who have unionized at 150 stores nationwide.


Workers United alleges Schultz’s recent interview with New York Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin demonstrates the company won’t bargain in good faith with unionized employees. It’s the fourth time the union has filed a charge with labor regulators over the Starbucks chief’s statements.


Schultz in the interview said Starbucks will never accept the union, and that unionizing will cause the company to lose business, the union said in its filing.


Public comments like Schultz’s present a legal minefield, as the National Labor Relations Board has found executives’ statements alone to be labor law violations. At the very least, the union could use those comments as fodder for later allegations of bad faith if negotiations fall apart.


“When employers speak, particularly when it’s a billionaire celebrity CEO, their words can carry particular weight,” the union’s attorney, Gabe Frumkin of Barnard Iglitzin & Lavitt LLP, told Bloomberg Law.


In the interview, Schultz said that the company needed to “reinvent the role and responsibility of our company.” He said that “we have to customize new benefits and we have to demonstrate to our people they can trust us.”


“Could you ever see doing that and embracing the union as part of it?” Sorkin asked...


Part of a Pattern ...


Not a ‘Slam Dunk’ ...


more, including links