Billionaire Starbucks CEO Blames ‘Woke Leaders,’ Homelessness for Starbucks Closures

Howard Schultz said he recently closed 16 locations due to lackadaisical crime policies and too many homeless people.

Billionaire Starbucks CEO Blames ‘Woke Leaders,’ Homelessness for Starbucks Closures
Photo:Michael Conroy (AP)

Anyone who has ever patronized a Starbucks knows that the company brews bullshit that will likely result in either acid reflux and diarrhea or, at best, a lingering regret over spending that much on a cup of unforgivably burnt joe. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that the man behind the trademark siren, billionaire CEO Howard Schultz, elicits many of the same symptoms. Especially lately, as he attempts to blame 16 impending closures of perfectly profitable Starbucks locations on “woke leaders” and homelessness.

In two leaked videos of Schultz speaking at an internal meeting, tweeted by Seattle talk radio host, Ari Hoffman, the failed 2020 presidential candidate and storied union buster spoke of supposed incidents involving homeless people in stores and accused lawmakers of shirking their duties when it comes to being “tough on crime.”

“In my view at the local, state, and federal level, these governments across the country and leaders, mayors, and governors and city councils have abdicated their responsibility in fighting crime and addressing mental illness,” Schultz said.

Primary concerns, according to Schultz, include drug use by paying customers and people who take advantage of the company’s open bathroom policy, which gives way for nonpaying visitors—many of them homeless—to use the restroom. As a result, the company is also reportedly considering closing restrooms to non-paying visitors, overturning the 2018 policy that deemed every person in the store—even those that weren’t purchasing anything—as customers.

“It has shocked me that one of the primary concerns that our retail partners have is their own personal safety,” Schultz continued. “And then we heard the stories about what happens in our bathrooms, the issues with mental illness, homelessness, and crime.”

His solution? Why, shuttering numerous stores, potentially leaving scores of the employees he’s purportedly concerned for temporarily without an income or health coverage, of course! Locations in Philadelphia, Portland, Washington D.C., and multiple stores in Los Angeles and Seattle are set to close thanks to Schultz’s crusade against those cities’ reported rise in homelessness—a dire issue that would surely benefit from even a small fraction of Schultz’s wealth. Worse yet, Schultz warned there are more closures to come.

“Starbucks is a window into America, we have stores in every community…we are facing things in which the stores were not built for,” he said. “We’re listening to our people and closing stores and this is just the beginning. There are going be many more.”

In two letters to employees, the company wrote that in the event of a closure it plans to relocate employees to a nearby location, but there’s more than enough reason to distrust company leadership. Union organizers like Starbucks Workers United (SBWU)—who just filed an unfair labor practice charge against the company—have long claimed that store closures are nothing but retaliation and illegal coercion against recent union formations. Of the 16 stores facing closures, two locations in Seattle have successfully unionized, and one store in Portland awaits a union vote next month, according to In These Times. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) filed similar charges against the company when three locations in upstate New York were closed shortly after their employees had unionized.

Whether Schultz is purposely shuttering unionized locations in an attempt to stunt an evolving, enduring labor movement or he’s, as he says, simply concerned about crime (read: annoyed that homeless people hang out in his stores), he’s proving to be every bit as evil as any other billionaire CEO.

It’s a real pity that the man had the worst numbers of any potential presidential candidate tested. Considering his logic, ego, and bloated bank account off the backs of hundreds of thousands of criminally underpaid people, he would’ve made fast friends in Washington.

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