"Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz declined an invitation from 11 senators to testify on March 9 on the coffee company’s compliance with federal labor law, according to a letter seen by Reuters late on Tuesday.
"Last week, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, who chairs a committee on labor issues, and 10 other members of the committee asked Schultz to answer by Feb. 14 whether he would take part.
"Schultz, who re-joined Starbucks as interim CEO in April 2022, will 'fully transition' out of the role next month, said Starbucks acting executive vice president and general counsel Zabrina Jenkins in the letter.
"'Given the timing of the transition, his relinquishment of any operating role in the company going forward and what we understand to be the subject of the hearing, we believe another senior leader with ongoing responsibilities is best suited to address these matters,' Jenkins wrote."
- KC's View:
If you believe that Schultz is going to "fully transition" out of an operating role at Starbucks when the new CEO - what the hell is his name again? - steps in, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you. Cheap.
Schultz may not have an operational title, but he's staying on the board, and his shadow will loom long and large over the new CEO. (What the hell is his name again?)
I think Schultz is an absolute wussy for declining this invitation - he's been the loudest, most insistent voice at Starbucks in pushing back against unionization. In fact, if I remember correctly, he went to one market where unionization was on the table even before he returned to the CEO job for the third time, when he wasn't even on the board. So declining an "invitation" to testify strikes me as gutless - he ought to have the backbone to go make his case. (If memory serves, wasn't it quite literally his backbone that was the issue when he decided not to run for President? Just asking.)
I'm no Bernie Sanders fan, but I kind of hope that the invitation becomes a subpoena. Not sure what the legal requirements would be to make that happen, but I'd like to see a Schultz vs. Sanders exchange … if nothing else, it would be entertaining, and quite possibly illuminating.