(RoyalPatriot.com )- The interim CEO of Starbucks stepped down sooner than expected this week as the company faces a work stoppage in more than 40 US cities, The Hill reported.
On Monday, Howard Schultz stepped down just days before he is expected to appear before a Senate committee to testify about the coffee company’s response to ongoing union organizing efforts since 2021.
Starbucks announced that the incoming CEO Laxman Narasimhan, who was taking over the company in April, will be starting immediately.
Narasimhan was selected as the incoming CEO in September to replace the outgoing Schultz, who served as the company’s CEO from 1986 to 2000 and again from 2008 to 2017 before being appointed interim CEO in 2022.
Starbucks has faced criticism over its handling of unionization efforts by its employees, prompting scrutiny from lawmakers.
In early March, a judge from the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Starbucks had committed “egregious and widespread” violations in its fight to stop its workers from unionizing.
After weeks of negotiating between Starbucks and Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Chairman Bernie Sanders, Schultz was scheduled to testify before the committee on March 29 to face questions on how the company’s response to the unionization efforts at hundreds of locations in recent years.
After Starbucks initially rejected Senator Sanders’ request that Schultz testify, the committee was poised to vote on sending a subpoena to Schultz to compel him to appear. But before the committee voted, Schultz agreed to appear voluntarily.
Since 2021, more than 280 Starbucks locations have voted to unionize. However, the company has clashed with union organizers, firing many of them.
Schultz’s departure will not get him out of next week’s hearing.
According to The Hill, Starbucks confirmed that Schultz will appear before the committee as scheduled.
Striking Starbucks employees from Washington state and Oregon staged a protest outside of Starbucks headquarters in Seattle on Wednesday as part of a planned strike this week, the Seattle Times reported.
The strike, which organizers claim involves workers in stores from over 40 cities, is the union’s latest effort to force changes at Starbucks.