Bernie Sanders plans to subpoena Howard Schultz of Starbucks

Sen. Bernie Sanders announced Wednesday that he plans to hold a vote among his colleagues to determine whether Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz will be called to testify before a Senate committee.

The Vermont independent slammed the Starbucks co-founder for the company’s anti-union campaign against Workers United, a union that has organized nearly 300 of the chain’s stores. Now, Sanders says Schultz should be required to testify before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which Sanders chairs.

“Unfortunately, Howard Schultz gave us no choice but to subpoena him,” Sanders said. he said on Twitter. “A multi-billion dollar company like Starbucks cannot continue to violate federal labor laws with impunity. It’s time to hold Starbucks and Mr. Schultz accountable.”

Sanders’ office said in a news release that the committee will hold the vote next Wednesday. Democrats hold a slim majority in the committee and in the Senate overall.

Sanders said the subpoena would be related to Starbucks’ “lack of compliance with federal labor laws.” He also said he hoped to “mandate a commission inquiry into labor law violations by large corporations.”

Workers United has faced aggressive pushback from the coffee chain as the union sought to organize stores coast to coast starting in 2021. The National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel has issued dozens of complaints against the Seattle-based company, alleging it illegally fired workers. , closed stores and threatened to withhold raises and benefits to keep workers from unionizing.

Senator Bernie Sanders wants Howard Schultz (above) to testify before his committee.

The Washington Post via Getty Images

Sanders sent a letter to Starbucks last month asking Schultz to testify before his committee, but the company responded with a letter saying the CEO had no intention of doing so. They recommended that a different executive, AJ Jones II, appear in his place. Schultz plans to step down from his role at the company in March.

“Given the timing of the transition, his relinquishment of any operational role at the company going forward, and what we understand to be the subject of the hearing, we believe another senior leader with continuing responsibilities is best suited to address these matters.” Starbucks strategist Zabrina Jenkins wrote to Sanders.

Schultz is the face of Starbucks and has been deeply involved in the anti-union campaign, making direct appeals to workers. The labor board’s general counsel accused Schultz himself of breaking the law in the midst of the campaign. In a sign of how controversial the campaign was, the union’s chief organizer called Schultz “the Al Capone of unionists.”

After Starbucks declined the senator’s request to have Schultz appear before the committee, Sanders called the response “disappointing, but not surprising.”

“Obviously, it’s easier for Mr. Schultz to fire workers who are exercising their constitutional right to form unions and intimidate others who might be interested in joining a union than to answer questions from elected officials,” Sanders said.

(tags For Translation) Bernie Sanders

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