Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has declared war on unions, but employees aren’t backing down. 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 CEO, Howard Schultz has declared war on unions, but employees, well, they’re not backing down. I love that. You know, I thought back, do you remember when Hillary Clinton was going to make him secretary of labor?

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             Did I just imagine that or have I? I’ve.

Farron Cousins:                  Nope. That was, uh.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. So, so tell me his position. What’s he doing? How outrageous has Mr. Schultz gone?

Farron Cousins:                  Well much like Amazon, Starbucks has had this big effort to unionize their stores across the country and we’re starting to see successes pop up all over the place. So Schultz was recently asked, are you going to sit down in good faith and negotiate with these unions? You know, negotiate with the people to form the unions. And he flat out says, no.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  No, I am not.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, he’s, his, his argument is really a little ridiculous. He said, we’re a family here. We’re a family. This is the Starbucks family. These people working here, we, we’re just one big family that gets along. And if you allow, if you allow these union types to come in here, they’re gonna distort the process to where there’s gonna be a customer experience that’s bad. They’re, our employees are gonna actually be unhappy in the long run. And his position is no, we will not negotiate. Where does this go for Starbucks? I mean, there’s plenty of great coffee shops around the country.

Farron Cousins:                  Right.

Mike Papantonio:             I mean, this started up in what, Seattle, right?

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, there’s like a thousand more that could do the same thing.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah. Or, or you can, you know, make it at home too, if you choose.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  So Starbucks is really kind of pushing the limits on what they need to do here. If there’s one thing we can find, it’s a cup of coffee in this country.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  But he, he also, you know, he runs the risk of running a foul of the national labor relations board or the national labor relations act, I should say, by openly stating that he is not going to negotiate in good faith. Right there, that’s a violation. You know, you get a good lawyer on that, you can hit him with that pretty easily. So you have that big red flag for him. But most importantly, the workers say we’re still gonna do it.

Mike Papantonio:             Mm-hmm.

Farron Cousins:                  You know, we have seen just the last year or two, this massive push for more unions here in the United States, something that we’ve talked about’s been necessary for 20 years, but we haven’t seen it like this in this generation.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, this gen, you bring up something, it’s kinda like the Starbucks cool. You know, is that aura of the Starbucks cool. We’re gonna take our computer in there, we’re gonna drink latte and we’re gonna just chat. It’s, it’s kind of like Starbucks cool kind of feel. It’s, it’s rapidly losing that Starbucks cool kind of feel. And I thought it was really important that, that his position is permanent. Permanently we will not negotiate with unions. We’ll see.

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.