The only good friends Howard Schultz could find in Washington were Republicans

Starbucks has long had a reputation as a liberal company with progressive values ​​and even, fair or not “woke” politics. But on Capitol Hill Wednesday, the only good friends the company and its famous co-founder could find to defend them from anti-union charges were Republicans.

Under threat of a subpoena from Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Howard Schultz, the company’s recently resigned CEO, testified before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions in a hearing entitled “No Company is Above the Law.” from: The Need to End Illegal Union Busting at Starbucks.”

Sanders, the committee’s chair, led progressive lawmakers in a series of tough questions about how the giant coffee chain is fighting a union organizing campaign and has racked up a litany of labor law violation charges since 2021. When Schultz was beaten by Democrats, it was Republicans who tried to throw him a life raft.

Some of them insisted they weren’t defending Starbucks, though it certainly sounded like they were.

“I’m not here to defend Starbucks. I have my own questions about the alleged wrongdoing, and the law should be obeyed and upheld,” said Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La.), the committee’s senior member, in his opening remarks. “But let’s not fool ourselves. These hearings are anything but a fair and impartial process.”

Cassidy said the hearing’s title was “defamation,” though a National Labor Relations Board administrative judge recently ruled that Starbucks had committed “egregious and widespread” labor law violations.

Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said it was unusual for someone to be of his political persuasion Schultz comes to his aid.

“I recognize right away that there is a certain irony in a non-coffee-drinking Mormon conservative defending a Democratic nominee for president of perhaps one of America’s most liberal corporations,” the Republican said. (Schultz has long been rumored as a possible Democratic presidential nominee in past election cycles, and in 2020 he was flirting with running as an independent.)

But Romney said it was unfair for Democrats to put Schultz on camera.

“I also think it’s pretty rich that you get grilled by people who never had the opportunity to make a single job,” Romney said. “Yet they think they know better how to do it and what’s best for the American economy.”

Some Republicans insisted they weren’t defending liberal Starbucks, although it sounded like they would.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said the hearing was unfair, even though the NLRB’s General Counsel has filed more than 80 complaints against the company alleging it violated workers’ rights.

“I don’t want to be part of a witch hunt that slanders any American business,” says Paul called.

Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) said he doesn’t defend Starbucks either.

“I’m not trying to defend your company because politically we’re on completely different ends of the spectrum, so the irony of this type of hearing is funny,” Mullin told Schultz.

But then Mullin said Sanders and the Democrats were unfairly attacking Starbucks and its co-founder.

“It seems like unions now just want to fight with … employers,” Mullin said. “This friction creates a very volatile and tough workplace.”

He went on to say he offended Sanders “by pointing out that all CEOs are corrupt because they’re millionaires,” which Sanders never said.

“Anyone who makes a lot of money is corrupt,” Mullin said, attributing this point of view to Sanders.

Mullin ended his time by applauding Schultz for his success as a businessman.

Sanders was not impressed by Mullin’s speech.

“You’ve made more false statements in a short amount of time than I’ve ever heard,” the committee chairman told him.


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