With six days to go before January 1st and both Clinton tax rates and the spending sequester takes effect, some in Washington are desperate to cut a deal, even if it’s a bad deal that involves painful cuts to Social Security benefits.
CNN reports that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has written a letter to his chain’s 120 stores in the Washington, D.C. area to ask employees there to write “Come Together” on coffee cups on Thursday and Friday.
“Rather than be bystanders, you and your customers have an opportunity — and I believe we all have a responsibility — to send our elected officials a respectful but potent message, urging them to come together to find common ground,” Schultz wrote in his letter to the stores. He also apparently cited Fix The Debt, the powerful corporate front group that has been pushing for an agreement to cut Social Security benefits and lower corporate tax rates for months.
In a statement to CNN, the company stressed that these messages are voluntary.
But by even asking employees to voluntarily influence lawmakers to reach an agreement, Schultz is inappropriately pressuring them to take a political stand they may not agree with. For example, some of these employees may benefit from veterans or Social Security benefits that are at risk of being cut in a bad deal.
Starbucks employees should be able to decide for themselves what politics they endorse and should not be asked to write these messages as a part of their employment.
UPDATE: Read the full letter from Schultz here. It claims, without evidence, that the United States is experiencing a debt “crisis.” Schultz also pivots from sympathy for the Sandy Hook massacre to the need to come together to address this so-called “crisis.”
UPDATE II: I talked to a Starbucks employee in the D.C. area. This is what they had to say about being asked to take part in this campaign:
[It's] absolutely stupid. I don’t get paid nearly enough to write that on all the cups. It’s like I’m being punished in elementary school, except instead of a chalkboard, I have hundreds of cups. The message is Starbucks doesn’t care about their “partners.” They will be forced to do more work that is necessary or good, and not compensate them for it, and try to put out their message even if the “partner” doesn’t agree with it. … Compromise would get something done, but it’ll leave a [bad] deal for the working poor and the middle class.