Starbucks plans to hire 10,000 refugees over next five years

Coffee giant sets plans to hire refugees in the wake of President Trump’s executive order

By BRADY COYLE
Staff Writer

PHOTO: FLICKR/MARCO PAKOENINGRAT

Even before Judge James L. Robart blocked Donald Trump’s executive order from being enforced, there was a peaceful protest from an unlikely source.

In the wake of President Trump’s decision to temporarily deny entry to refugees from seven Muslim majority countries, the Starbucks coffee chain wrote an open letter to its employees committing to hire 10,000 refugees worldwide.

“We are developing plans to hire 10,000 of them [refugees] over five years in the 75 countries around the world where Starbucks does business,” said Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO, in his letter.

The announcement came two days after Trump signed his executive order that has caused worldwide protests. Judge Robart has temporarily suspended the president’s travel ban. When the White House appealed the decision to stop the enforcement of the ban, the appeals court upheld the decision by Judge Robart.

While Starbucks has mostly received praise for its decision to hire refugees, they have received backlash in the form of a “Boycott Starbucks” campaign, started by supporters of the new president.

Many Trump supporters cite the unemployment statistics of American citizens, particularly military veterans, when arguing against making an active effort to employ refugees. This very much follows the “America First” principle that President Trump seems to be governing by.

Despite knowing that he was going to face opposition from Trump supporters, Shultz still seems to have made positive gains when it comes to Starbucks public relations.

“It’s impossible not to make enemies when companies enter the political arena, but from a business point of view, Schultz is probably right to associate Starbucks with pro-immigration stances that could tend to lessen anti-American sentiment in international markets,” said Vlae Kershner, a stock market investor and financial journalist.

This is not the first time a company has become involved in the tense current political climate in the U.S.

While taxis boycotted JFK airport for an hour on January 28, in a demonstration of opposition to Trump’s executive order, Uber decided to take advantage, rather than stand in solidarity with New York taxis. Uber dropped their surge prices for the entire hour that the New York taxis were boycotting JFK.

Uber received backlash for their decision to take advantage while cabs were protesting, and it started the #deleteuber trend that went viral. While Uber was taking heat for their decision to drop surge prices, Lyft, Uber’s number one competitor in the U.S., made a political statement to try and grow their clientele.

Promptly following the development of the #deleteuber campaign, Lyft committed to donating $1,000,000 to the American Civil Liberties Union.

In an email to its users regarding the travel ban, Lyft stated, “We stand firmly against these actions, and will not be silent on issues that threaten the values of our community.”

With tensions continuing to rise in the U.S., many companies are trying to remain bi-partisan and avoid angering and alienating certain demographics.

Clearly Starbucks has thrown caution to the wind and decided there are some things worth fighting for.