Anger brews over Starbuck's plan to hire refugees

Anger brews over Starbuck’s plan to hire refugees

Donald Trump’s executive order to forbid immigrants from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia from entering the US for 90 days has resulted in an unexpected call for a worldwide boycott of Starbucks after the company’s CEO and chairman Howard Schultz announced that he plans to hire 10,000 refugees worldwide in the next. 5-years. Starbucks currently does business in 75 countries. Trump’s mandate also affected legal permanent residents and visa holders from those 7 nations.

“We are living in an unprecedented time, one in which we are witness to the conscience of our country, and the promise of the American Dream, being called into question,” he wrote in a letter sent to employees, going on to state that the giant retailer would begin by focusing the effort in the United States where he would hire immigrants “who have served with American troops as interpreters and support personnel.”

Although thousands of people have been protesting Trump’s decision since it was announced this week, the statement, in turn, raised the ire of its US customers. While many of these folks have voiced their sympathy for refugees throughout the world via social media, they also feel that those jobs should first go to “10,000” veterans as well as other unemployed citizens in need of jobs rather than foreigners. It should be pointed out, however, that Starbucks has had a program in place to support veterans and their families, and has hired 8,000 veterans and military spouses since 2014.

Meanwhile, Schultz, who backed Hillary Clinton during the presidential election, also vowed that his company would offer support to coffee growers in Mexico, provide health insurance to eligible workers if the Republicans succeed in repealing the Affordable Healthcare Act, as well as stand-up for President Obama’s DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) immigration program that allows young immigrants who were brought to the country as children to apply for a 2-year reprieve from deportation and a work permit.

“There are nearly 3/4 of a million hard working people contributing to our communities and our economy because of this program, “ he continued. “At Starbucks, we are proud to call them partners and to help them realize their own American Dream. We want them to feel welcome and included in our success, which is why we reimburse them for the biennial fee they must pay to stay in the program and why we have offered DACA-related services at our Opportunity Youth hiring fairs.”

How much of Schultz’s plan to support refugees with jobs will actually be realized during the next half decade still remains to be seen (with or without a boycott by customers) considering he already announced his retirement as Starbuck’s CEO effective April 2017. He will be succeeded at that time by Kevin Johnson.

Note: The United Nations currently reports that there are more than 65 millions refugees fleeing war, famine, and persecution, etc. throughout the world today.

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