Starbucks is fighting unionization efforts at their stores, and the company appears willing to break the law to achieve their goal. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             Starbucks is fighting unionization efforts at their stores and the company appears to be willing to break the law to get there. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins joins me now talk about this in many other issues. And the guy I say is honestly the best voice in progressive media. I really do mean that.

Farron Cousins:                  Thank you.

Mike Papantonio:             Everybody, I say it a lot, people I wanna make the point. You, you’re really good at what you do.

Farron Cousins:                  Well, thank you.

Mike Papantonio:             And, and so I appreciate that. I, it’s, it’s a pleasure talking to you. I want to ask you about this. As I looked about it, as I looked at this story, the most incredible thing that I found is that they’ve been down this road before. We’ve seen big corporations get spanked for doing exactly what Amazon is doing. I mean, yeah, well I say Amazon.

Farron Cousins:                  Well, yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             Amazon’s doing it. Starbucks is doing it. But I looked at this it’s, it’s their video, the, the things they can’t do. The employees can’t take videos of their shop. They can’t take photos. We’re gonna threaten their benefits. We’re gonna threaten their pay raise. We’re going to, we’re going to have surveillance. We’re gonna watch ’em with cameras and then we’re gonna terminate ’em to set an example. All this is Starbucks, it’s Amazon all over, isn’t it?

Farron Cousins:                  Right. I mean that, that actually we have done plenty of segments where Amazon was the carbon copy. They did everything you’re mentioning here. And now of course, Starbucks says, well, hey, Amazon had some success with it. Let’s try it ourselves. And so the National Labor Relations Board has hit them with this massive lawsuit, alleging at least that we know of 200 instances of breaking federal labor laws. And a lot of it, of course, does have to do with the retaliation against these employees. You know, firing anybody who says, hey, what if we started a union? Starbucks immediately steps in and says, hey, what if you didn’t have a job here anymore?

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah, exactly.

Farron Cousins:                  And, and even worse, last week it was revealed that Howard Schultz, the guy that runs Starbucks said on a call, hey, we’re gonna give everybody raises except the unionized workforce. We’re not giving them any new benefits, but I’m gonna take such good care of all my other non-union employees, which of course that tactic illegal. And that is seen as a, a form of union busting by, by not giving the benefits to everybody.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. So he, you know, his big talking point when he put all this together, the whole Starbucks picture is we’re partners. A, we’re partners and oh, by the way, we’re one of the most progressive companies in the market. Really? Progressive company. So, so progressive has a whole new meaning if I look at what this guy did and I look what, what Bezos is doing with Amazon and so many of these tech companies. I mean it, the tech companies plus this, it, it’s the same, it’s the same foundation every time we see it. Look, people need to look if, if you’re watching this and you’re, you’re, you’re wondering what rights do I have? The section seven of the, the NLRA tells you everything that you can and can’t do. And I think it’s really important that people understand this kind of thing has digressed to where you have Starbucks saying you can’t even wear a pin on your, on your shirt that talks about union. That says, I’m a member of a union or I want to, or please start a union. You can’t wear a pin like that.

Farron Cousins:                  Well, no, you can’t. But of course you can wear your, you can wear your black lives matter pins. You can wear your, your rainbow pins because we’re progressive.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  And we care about only social issues on the surface. And that’s how they get away with this crap too, pretending to be progressive companies. They say, well, look, look we’re, we’re letting you wear these buttons. We support the LGBT community.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  No, you don’t. What you’re doing is you’re union busting, you’re corporate, you know, psychopaths.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  And that’s all you care about is your bottom line.

Mike Papantonio:             Bring your computer in, drink a latte and you’re gonna be among friends.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             All, everybody in here is your partner. It’s just the biggest it’s, it’s just the biggest bunk I’ve, that we, we see this so often now though, Farron.

Farron Cousins:                  We do.

Mike Papantonio:             It’s, it’s like, it, it comes from progressive organizations. It comes from people who really do wear that mantle, we’re progressive for the very reasons that you point out. Yeah, we’re good on some social issues. But where it comes to you making money. Nah, we’re not so progressive.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.