: Starbucks investors push for review of how company is dealing with union activity

by | Sep 19, 2022 | Stock Market

A coalition of Starbucks Corp. investors on Monday filed a shareholder proposal asking for a third-party assessment of the company’s stated commitment to workers’ freedom of association and collective bargaining rights, citing many allegations that the company has interfered with those rights.

The investors, led by the New York City Pension Funds, said in the proposal that there is an “apparent misalignment between Starbucks’ public commitments and its reported conduct.” For example, they said regional offices of the National Labor Relations Board have issued at least 20 complaints against Starbucks
over hundreds of allegations of labor-rights violations that include captive-audience meetings, surveillance, retaliation, intimidation and firings, as well as excluding unionized employees from pay and benefit increases. “When companies blatantly disregard and oppose their employees’ fundamental right to organize, they put their reputation on the line,” New York City Comptroller Brad Lander said in a news release. “For a company as focused on the customer experience as Starbucks, continued interference with worker organizing undermines the brand, which is essential to its success.” Also mentioned in the proposal: Last month, Starbucks’ interim chief executive, Howard Schultz, was ordered to read a notice to employees telling them they had been illegally denied benefits and wage increases. Additionally last month, a judge ordered the company to reinstate seven Memphis, Tenn., employees it allegedly fired for their support of a union campaign. Trillium ESG Global Equity Fund is a co-filer of the shareholder proposal. In March, Trillium Asset Management joine …

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