September 30, 2022

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Starbucks criticizes Biden’s visit to union leaders and requests a White House meeting

Starbucks criticizes Biden's visit to union leaders and requests a White House meeting

US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on economic growth, jobs, and deficit reduction in the Roosevelt Chamber on Wednesday, May 4, 2022.

Demetrius Freeman | Washington Post | Getty Images

Starbucks Asks the White House to hold a meeting after President Joe Biden meets with a regulator who helps coffee shops form unions.

The president met with 39 national labor leaders Thursday, including Christian Smalls, who chairs the House Amazon union workers, and Laura Garza, union leader at Starbucks New York City Roastery. Biden has been an outspoken supporter of unions, from the election campaign to his time in the Oval Office, at a time when prominent workers were leading in companies like AmazonAnd apple And Condé Nast grab the headlines.

AJ Jones, Starbucks’ head of global communications and public affairs, wrote in a letter Thursday that the decision not to invite any representatives from the company was deeply concerning.

Jones wrote in the letter to Steve RitchettiOne of Biden’s closest advisors. “As you know, American workers have the absolute right to decide for themselves whether to join unions, or not to form unions, without any undue influence.”

As of Wednesday, six Starbucks locations have voted against the unions. But baristas at more than 50 Starbucks coffees across the United States have voted for unions under the Labor Union over the past six months. Nearly 200 cafes are still waiting for their elections or to hear their votes counted.

Jones requested a meeting at the White House to provide an opportunity to present the Biden administration to workers who had differing views of the union. A representative from the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC.

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Starbucks is campaigning to limit the spread of unions in its coffee shops. The ULO has filed more than 100 complaints of unfair labor practices against the company, alleging unlawful retaliation and harassment. The National Labor Relations Board has filed at least three lawsuits against Starbucks. The company denied the allegations but filed two of its complaints against the ULO.

Tuesday, Starbucks She said she will spend $1 billion in fiscal year 2022 To invest in its stores and workers. These investments include a further increase in wages for permanent employees, a doubling of training for new workers, and plans to add tipping for debit and credit card users.

“These benefits, including benefits we have requested since the beginning of our campaign, are in response to our organizational efforts and we should celebrate the hard work of partners who have stood in the way [CEO] The Starbucks Workers’ Organizing Committee said in a statement to CNBC on Tuesday that Howard Schultz’s bullying led to this. “Many of the proposed benefits have been brought to the table in Buffalo.”

Schultz himself had been publicly flirting with running for president as an independent during the run-up to the 2020 election.