(HorizonPost.com) – Mitt Romney has come to the defense of Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz after the company allegedly offered inducements to employees not to join a union. At a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing recently, Democrats accused the CEO of “union-busting” and said what the company had done was illegal – something Schultz denied. While acknowledging that the two don’t have much in common, former Presidential candidate Romney said it was “rich” that Congress members, who’d never created a job, should be lecturing Schultz on what is best for the company’s workers and what is best for the economy.
He also pointed out that Democrats have a conflict of interest on the issue, given how much the party receives in donations from unions across the country.
Schultz was grilled at the Senate hearing by Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders. The Senator accused Starbucks of running “the most aggressive and illegal union-busting campaign in the modern history of our country.” The case against the coffee giant alleges that it has violated labor law by illegally firing workers, withholding benefits, and closing stores. It is said to have used its leverage to persuade employees against organizing.
In a memorable exchange, Schultz was pushed to defend his billionaire status and hit back at socialist Sanders saying he had worked for his money. “Yes, I have billions of dollars. I earned it. No one gave it to me. And I’ve shared it constantly with the people of Starbucks,” he said.
Several Republicans, including Romney, spoke out in support of Schultz, despite the liberal approach and philosophy of Starbucks. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said the company was “an American success story” and he would therefore not participate in any witch hunt against it. He was also supported by Markwayne Mullin (Okla.) and Bill Cassidy (La.).
Howard Schultz is worth around $3.6 billion. He took charge of Starbucks in 1986 when it was still a single outlet in Seattle.
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