WASHINGTON, March 2 (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders declined Thursday to backtrack on calls for Starbucks Corp. (SBUX.O) interim Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz, who steps down this month, to testify at a hearing on compliance with labor law.
Starbucks reiterated Thursday that it has no plans to send Schultz to a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled for March 9.
In response, Sanders, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, said he was “appalled and deeply concerned that Howard Schultz would not accept a request from a majority of the members of the Senate HELP Committee.” keep ignoring”.
He said there will be a vote on March 8 on whether to issue a subpoena for Schultz to appear.
“Let’s be clear. Howard Schultz is the founder of Starbucks, he’s the CEO of Starbucks, he’s the spokesman for Starbucks, and he will remain on Starbucks’ board well into the future,” Sanders said in a letter. Thursday to Starbucks.
“Mr. Schultz has made it clear that he is the driving force behind labor policies at Starbucks,” the Democratic senator said.
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Starbucks noted that Schultz is stepping down as CEO later this month and said he was not the right witness.
It claimed its Chief Communications and Public Affairs Officer AJ Jones was best positioned to address the personnel issues raised by members of the committee.
The company also offered to send May Jensen, vice president of partner and employment relations, and Zabrina Jenkins, acting executive vice president and general counsel.
Democratic lawmakers accuse Starbucks of failing to conduct fair negotiations with unionized employees. The coffee company has dismissed the claims, saying it values its employees’ right to participate in legal union-related endeavours.
The company said in its letter Thursday that it has “an unparalleled history as a model employer”.
Workers at more than 280 of the company’s approximately 9,000 U.S.-operated locations have voted to join a union since 2021. The union is committed to better wages and benefits, improved health and safety conditions, and protection against unfair dismissal and disciplinary action.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will also vote on authorizing the panel to investigate labor law violations by major corporations.
Reporting by Arsheet Singh and David Shepardson; Edited by Krishna Chandra Eluri and Sonali Paul
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