Starbucks criticized President Joe Biden for meeting with an organizer who is trying to help its shops unionize.
“We believe this lack of representation discounts the reality that the majority of our partners oppose being members of a union and the unionization tactics being deployed by Workers United,” A.J. Jones, Starbucks’s head of global communications and public affairs, wrote in a letter to the White House dated for Thursday. “As you know, American workers have the absolute right to decide for themselves to unionize, or not to unionize, without any undue influences.”
On Thursday, Biden met with 39 national labor leaders, including Laura Garza, who is spearheading a unionization effort at Starbucks’s New York Roastery. The meeting was intended to promote unionization efforts across the country, something Biden championed as a candidate.
“When I ran for president, I made a commitment that I would be the most pro-labor, union president in the history of America,” Biden proclaimed at the meeting.
Jones is hoping for a meeting to present an alternative perspective on unionization to the president. The company aims to stop unionization ventures in its coffee shops. So far, there are no reports of the White House responding to the request.
Nearly 50 Starbucks locations have voted in favor of unionizing as part of the Starbucks Workers United movement during the past six months, CNBC reported. At least six locations voted against unionizing, and 200 cafes are still waiting for the results or for their elections to take place.
Interim Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced Tuesday a slew of new benefits for employees at over 8,800 stores that are not unionizing, NPR reported. This includes bolstered sick leave, credit card tipping, and training.
“We have a drastically more positive vision for our partners and our company than Workers United. And our vision is based on listening, connecting, collaborating and engaging directly with our partners,” Jones said.