Starbucks: Another nice mess


Starbucks is in a mess of its own making, and it’s going to get worse.

On Monday, July 2, a report  prepared at Starbucks’ request came out advising the company on its diversity efforts. The report followed an incident in April when a store manager in Philadelphia called the police after two black men who hadn’t bought anything didn’t leave the store when asked.

The report’s extensive list of recommendations, if adopted, would reach deep into Starbucks’ operations with a litany of actions high on the liberal agenda. Now, if Starbucks fails to embrace the recommendations it will surely be subject to more accusations of racial bias and bad faith.

But the list shouldn’t have come as a surprise to Starbucks. After all, in a bid to placate the left, Starbucks gave the report assignment to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Heather McGhee, former president and now senior fellow of Demos.

The NAACP is hardly a neutral observer on racial issues and Demos is a left-wing think tank launched in 2000 by a group of liberal activists, journalists and politicians, including then-state Senator Barack Obama. To top it off, Demos’ Board Chair is progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren’s daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi.

Reading the report’s recommendations is like listening to a panel composed of Al Sharpton, Rachel Maddow, Cornell West, George Soros and Jon Stewart:

  • Encourage unionization of Starbucks’ workforce. “…we recommend that the company recognize, respect and encourage the fundamental civil right that is collective bargaining.”
  • Make worker pay transparent. Let all workers know what other workers are making.
  • Do a Civil Rights Audit.“…conduct…a comprehensive and independent review of the company’s processes, policies and outcomes across a range of metrics, including racial diversity of staff at all levels and contractors throughout the supply chain.”
  • Change how staff are evaluated and promoted. “Bluntly, some managers and even corporate leadership may not have a future with the company under the new standards. “
  • Pay a $15 an hour starting wage.“Economic security is a racial equity issue.” (According to Glassdoor, a typical Starbucks Barista salary is $9 an hour)
  • Provide support to police departments. Offer financial and in-kind support to assist with anti-bias training by police departments and in-kind rewards to departments that complete initial trainings.
  • Eliminate arbitration requirements. “Mandatory arbitration agreements prevent employees from bringing individual claims in federal courts, essentially privatizing civil rights employment claims.”
  • Give money for education. Commit financial resources towards supporting college readiness and SAT preparation programs in Philadelphia high schools.

And as if that isn’t enough interference in Starbucks’ business, the report says Starbucks should, “Appoint an independent consultant…to monitor the effectiveness of these measures, and to regularly report back to civil rights organizations.”

You can be sure that the left will assiduously follow Starbuck’s follow-up on the report’s recommendations and call out the company publicly for any perceived sluggishness in implementing change.

And the media will breathlessly jump on every allegation, presenting a constant management and public relations nightmare.

Listen carefully and you can almost hear the company’s employees and shareholders muttering the Laurel and Hardy line— “Well , here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into!”

Another fine mess


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