Connect with us

Business News

Starbucks CEO calls for discourse on government shutdown

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has penned a letter asking business leaders to speak out respectfully about the government shutdown – will you join him, or is this type of activism unreasonable?

Published

on

starbucks

starbucks

Starbucks CEO’s open letter to America

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has published an open letter on the company website, calling for the government shutdown be resolved respectfully, dubbing the situation a “crisis in leadership.”

“I don’t pretend that both parties are equally to blame for this crisis. But, I do think they are equally responsible for leading us to a solution,” Schultz stated.

Before publishing the letter, Schultz emailed the letter to various American executives, encouraging their involvement in speaking out against the government shutdown.

“I’d like to encourage you to consider what your companies and organizations can do to help shift the norms of our country back towards civility, compromise and problem solving,” Schultz added. “In uncertain moments such as these, it is time for us as citizens and business leaders to remind our employees and customers that we stand with them.”

Activism as part of the brand’s identity

Schultz, like a growing number of enterprise executives, often makes his opinions public on political issues, but unlike others, his tone is rarely inflammatory, typically calling for civility and respectful resolutions, as he has in this case. As such, he is a mouthpiece for the company, which helps and hurts the brand, depending on which issue du jour he happens to be opining on at the time.

He is, however, strong in his position, telling shareholders last year that if they don’t like it, they can take a hike. “If you feel respectfully you can get a higher return [than] the 38 percent you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares at Starbucks and buy shares in other companies.”

Full letter from Schultz:

Dear Friends:

Like so many of you, I find myself utterly disappointed by the level of irresponsibility and dysfunction we are witness to with our elected political leadership. This weekend I heard from several business leaders who shared their concern about our relative silence and impact in urging the political leadership to act on behalf of the citizenry. I hope you share my view that it is our responsibility to address the crisis of confidence that is needlessly being set in motion. I’d like to encourage you to consider what your companies and organizations can do to help shift the norms of our country back toward civility, compromise and problem-solving.

At Starbucks, we are planning actions in the coming weeks to galvanize our customers, inspire our people and encourage the communities we serve to come together to take care of each other. In uncertain moments such as these, it is time for us as citizens and business leaders to remind our employees and customers that we stand with them. Perhaps through these actions, we can remind the Congress and the President of their duty to put citizenship over partisanship for the sake of our country and the world at large.

Please join me in pleading for civility and a respectful, honest discourse among politicians to bring a solution to the current stalemate. I don’t pretend that both parties are equally to blame for this crisis. But, I do think they are equally responsible for leading us to a solution. We have to do what we can to mitigate and avoid the unintended consequences that the current political direction is leading the country and world toward. Let’s start by pushing for solutions and speaking out against posturing and blaming. The humanity and conscience of our country depends on it.

I am eager to hear your thoughts and ideas on what else we can do together to move us past this crisis in leadership.

Respectfully,

Howard Schultz

The American Genius is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. howie1347

    October 9, 2013 at 12:52 am

    Mr. Schultz says we need more civility and cooperation. He then tells people who disagree with him “to take a hike.” Kind of sounds like Obama doesn’t it?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Business News

Big retailers are opting for refunds instead of returns

(BUSINESS NEWS) Due to increased shipping costs, big companies like Amazon and Walmart are opting to give out a refund rather than accepting small items returned.

Published

on

Package delivery people holding deliveries. Refund instead of returns are common now.

The holidays are over, and now some people are ready to return an item that didn’t quite work out or wasn’t on their Christmas list. Whatever the reason, some retailers are giving customers a refund and letting them keep the product, too.

When Vancouver, Washington resident, Lorie Anderson, tried returning makeup from Target and batteries from Walmart she had purchased online, the retailers told her she could keep or donate the products. “They were inexpensive, and it wouldn’t make much financial sense to return them by mail,” said Ms. Anderson, 38. “It’s a hassle to pack up the box and drop it at the post office or UPS. This was one less thing I had to worry about.”

Amazon.com Inc., Walmart Inc., and other companies are changing the way they handle returns this year, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). The companies are using artificial intelligence (AI) to weigh the costs of processing physical returns versus just issuing a refund and having customers keep the item.

For instance, if it costs more to ship an inexpensive or larger item than it is to refund the purchase price, companies are giving customers a refund and telling them to keep the products also. Due to an increase in online shopping, it makes sense for companies to change how they manage returns.

Locus Robotics chief executive Rick Faulk told the Journal that the biggest expense when it comes to processing returns is shipping costs. “Returning to a store is significantly cheaper because the retailer can save the freight, which can run 15% to 20% of the cost,” Faulk said.

But, returning products to physical stores isn’t something a lot of people are wanting to do. According to the return processing firm Narvar, online returns increased by 70% in 2020. With people still hunkered down because of the pandemic, changing how to handle returns is a good thing for companies to consider to reduce shipping expenses.

While it might be nice to keep the makeup or batteries for free, don’t expect to return that new PS5 and get to keep it for free, too. According to WSJ, a Walmart spokesperson said the company lets someone keep a refunded item only if the company doesn’t plan on reselling it. And, besides taking the economic costs into consideration, the companies look at the customer’s purchase history as well.

Continue Reading

Business News

Google workers have formed company’s first labor union

(BUSINESS NEWS) A number of Google employees have agreed to commit 1% of their salary to labor union dues to support employee activism and fight workplace discrimination.

Published

on

Google complex with human sized chessboard, where a labor union has been formed.

On Monday morning, Google workers announced that they have formed a union with the support of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the largest communications and media labor union in the U.S.

The new union, Alphabet Workers Union (AWU) was organized in secret for about a year and formed to support employee activism, and fight discrimination and unfairness in the workplace.

“From fighting the ‘real names’ policy, to opposing Project Maven, to protesting the egregious, multi-million dollar payouts that have been given to executives who’ve committed sexual harassment, we’ve seen first-hand that Alphabet responds when we act collectively. Our new union provides a sustainable structure to ensure that our shared values as Alphabet employees are respected even after the headlines fade,” stated Program Manager Nicki Anselmo in a press release.

AWU is the first union in the company’s history, and it is open to all employees and contractors at any Alphabet company in the United States and Canada. The cost of membership is 1% of an employee’s total compensation, and the money collected will be used to fund the union organization.

In a response to the announcement, Google’s Director of People Operations, Kara Silverstein, said, “We’ve always worked hard to create a supportive and rewarding workplace for our workforce. Of course, our employees have protected labor rights that we support. But as we’ve always done, we’ll continue engaging directly with all our employees.”

Unlike other labor unions, the AWU is considered a “Minority Union”. This means it doesn’t need formal recognition from the National Labor Relations Board. However, it also means Alphabet can’t be forced to meet the union’s demands until a majority of employees support it.

So far, the number of members in the union represents a very small portion of Google’s workforce, but it’s growing every day. When the news of the union was first announced on Monday, roughly 230 employees made up the union. Less than 24 hours later, there were 400 employees in the union, and now that number jumped to over 500 employees.

Unions among Silicon Valley’s tech giants are rare, but labor activism is slowly picking up speed, especially with more workers speaking out and organizing.

“The Alphabet Workers Union will be the structure that ensures Google workers can actively push for real changes at the company, from the kinds of contracts Google accepts to employee classification to wage and compensation issues. All issues relevant to Google as a workplace will be the purview of the union and its members,” stated the AWU in a press release.

Continue Reading

Business News

Ticketmaster caught red-handed hacking, hit with major fines

(BUSINESS NEWS) Ticketmaster has agreed to pay $10 million to resolve criminal charges after hacking into a competitor’s network specifically to sabotage.

Published

on

Person open on hacking computer screen, typing on keyboard.

Live Nation’s Ticketmaster agreed to pay $10 million to resolve criminal charges after admitting to hacking into a competitor’s network and scheming to “choke off” the ticket seller company and “cut [victim company] off at the knees”.

Ticketmaster admitted hiring former employee, Stephen Mead, from startup rival CrowdSurge (which merged with Songkick) in 2013. In 2012, Mead signed a separation agreement to keep his previous company’s information confidential. When he joined Live Nation, Mead provided that confidential information to the former head of the Artist Services division, Zeeshan Zaidi, and other Ticketmaster employees. The hacking information shared with the company included usernames, passwords, data analytics, and other insider secrets.

“When employees walk out of one company and into another, it’s illegal for them to take proprietary information with them. Ticketmaster used stolen information to gain an advantage over its competition, and then promoted the employees who broke the law. This investigation is a perfect example of why these laws exist – to protect consumers from being cheated in what should be a fair market place,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.

In January 2014, Mead gave a Ticketmaster executive multiple sets of login information to Toolboxes, the competitor’s password-protected app that provides real-time data about tickets sold through the company. Later, at an Artists Services Summit, Mead logged into a Toolbox and demonstrated the product to Live Nation and Ticketmaster employees. Information collected from the Toolboxes were used to “benchmark” Ticketmaster’s offerings against the competitor.

“Ticketmaster employees repeatedly – and illegally – accessed a competitor’s computers without authorization using stolen passwords to unlawfully collect business intelligence,” said Acting U.S. Attorney DuCharme in a statement. “Further, Ticketmaster’s employees brazenly held a division-wide ‘summit’ at which the stolen passwords were used to access the victim company’s computers, as if that were an appropriate business tactic.”

The hacking violations were first reported in 2017 when CrowdSurge sued Live Nation for antitrust violations. A spokesperson told The Verge, “Ticketmaster terminated both Zaidi and Mead in 2017, after their conduct came to light. Their actions violated our corporate policies and were inconsistent with our values. We are pleased that this matter is now resolved.”

To resolve the case, Ticketmaster will pay a $10 million criminal penalty, create a compliance and ethics program, and report to the United States Attorney’s Office annually during a three-year term. If the agreement is breached, Ticketmaster will be charged with: “One count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusions, one count of computer intrusion for commercial advantage, one count of computer intrusion in furtherance of fraud, one count of wire fraud conspiracy and one count of wire fraud.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Our Great Partners

The
American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Emerging Stories

Get The American Genius
neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to get business and tech updates, breaking stories, and more!