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Howard Schultz Just Wants To Be Loved
Please don't hurt the former Starbucks chairman's feelings by calling him a billionaire or by trying to organize a Starbucks union.
“Love,” says a doddering Jedediah Leland in Citizen Kane about Charles Foster Kane. “That’s why he did everything. That’s why he went into politics. It seems we weren’t enough, he wanted all the voters to love him, too. Guess all he really wanted out of life was love. That’s Charlie’s story, how he lost it.”
Appearing earlier today before the Senate HELP Committee, three-time Starbucks chairman and erstwhile presidential candidate Howard Schultz argued that because he grew up in public housing and “came from nothing” he made Starbucks into an ideal worker environment, and anybody who’d want a Starbucks union is an ingrate and a fool. Schultz didn’t deny doing everything in his power to prevent Starbucks shops from going union. He did deny that Starbucks’s union-busting was illegal. One hundred and thirty separate NLRB decisions conclude otherwise, but Starbucks is appealing every last one. Because if workers want a union, that means Starbucks is a bad company, and damn it, Starbucks isn’t a bad company, it’s a good company.
My latest, in the New Republic, explores Schultz’s misplaced search for love in labor-management relations, and other intriguing aspects of Schultz’s appearance today before Bernie Sanders’s committee. (Among other memorable moments, Schultz lost his shit when somebody called him a billionaire.) Interestingly, the least compelling part of the hearing was Bernie’s cross-examination of Schultz (though a spat Chairman Sanders ended up having with a Republican committee member over how many simoleons he’s earned in book royalties held some interest). You can read the piece here.
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