News & Commentary

March 29, 2023

Jacqueline Rayfield

Jacqueline Rayfield is a student at Harvard Law School.

In today’s News and Commentary, Former Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz testifies before the Senate HELP committee in a hearing led by Senator Bernie Sanders, and Kansas City Apple store organizers file charges with the NLRB claiming five organizers were fired in retaliation for their efforts to unionize.  

After threat of subpoena, Howard Schultz agreed to testify before the Senate HELP committee today at 10 a.m. eastern time based on complaints of “egregious and widespread misconduct” and over 500 unfair labor practice charges from the NLRB. Schultz, who recently exited his role as CEO, urged the committee to question other members of the company, like the new CEO and former McKinsey and PepsiCo executive Laxman Narasimhan. The union has expressed hope that Narasimhan would “chart a new path with the union.” However, as a major shareholder and board member, Schultz still holds major sway over Starbucks’ policies.

The committee will question Schultz today about ending “illegal anti-union activities and… signing fair first contracts with the unions,” said Sanders. But Republicans in Congress have taken a more sympathetic view towards the former Starbucks executive. Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana said he is concerned about prejudice in CEO hearings.

At tech giant, Apple, labor organizers from a Kansas City store have filed charges with the NLRB for illegal retaliation against five employee organizers. The store claims these employees were disciplined and fired for attendance related issues. One of the employees, who began organizing her store last spring, claims she was put on disciplinary notice for arriving an average of one minute late to her shift three times per month. She was fired in early February. Another worker, fired in December, explained that he began organizing after realizing only some workers in the store received premiums for speaking Spanish. Workers explain they hope to win benefits for their part time co-workers and more equitable treatment for all workers in the store.

These charges to the NLRB come from the Communications Workers of America, whose campaign to organize the company nationally successfully organized their first Apple store in Oklahoma City last year. The union filed a similar charge against the company for unfair practices at its Memorial City store in Houston on Monday.

Daily News & Commentary

Start your day with our roundup of the latest labor developments. See all

Enjoy OnLabor’s fresh takes on the day’s labor news, right in your inbox.