U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, who chairs a committee on labor problems, together with 10 other members of the committee, has requested that Starbucks Corp (SBUX.O) Chief Executive Howard Schultz testify at a hearing that will take place on March 9.
According to the letter that was distributed on Wednesday and that was written by Sanders, who is an independent, and 10 Democratic members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, the hearing would focus on Starbucks’ compliance with federal labor law.
Since the middle of 2021, Starbucks Workers United has been victorious in elections at about 260 outlets in the United States, while the organization has been unsuccessful in around 70 elections. The labor union is advocating for higher compensation and benefits, enhanced health and safety standards, and safeguards against unfair firings and disciplinary actions.
Starbucks said it “will continue our ongoing dialogue with key stakeholders, including the chairman’s office, to offer clarifying information in reference to these issues.”
Sanders, who became chair of the HELP committee last month, said bad things about Starbucks on Wednesday “has fought their workers every step of the way, including refusing to bargain a first contract in good faith, delay tactics, and a significant escalation in union busting.”
Starbucks has made it clear that it respects the rights of its workers to engage in authorized union activities and to organize themselves. Since October, the business reports that it has participated in 84 individual store contract bargaining sessions.
In December of 2016, Senator Sanders, along with three other senators, sent a letter to Starbucks demanding the company reveal the amount of money it has spent on legal representation and consulting expenses in order to combat the increasing number of union members.
On Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden of the United States called on Congress to pass legislation that would make it simpler for employees to join unions: “I am so sick and tired of companies breaking the law by preventing workers from organizing.”
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In January, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said that in 2022, the number of workers who belong to unions will fall to a level that has never been seen before.
The percentage of workers in a union went down from 10.3% in 2021 to 10.1% in 2022, even though the number of workers in a union went up by 273,000, or 1.9%, to 14.3 million.
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