Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz placed blame on woke elected officials in Democrat-run cities for the abrupt closure of 16 stores located primarily on the West Coast.
On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal was the first to report that six locations each will shut down in Seattle and Los Angeles, in addition to two in Portland, Ore., one in Philadelphia, and one in Washington, D.C., by August. The company cited repeated safety incidents behind its decision.
Leaked footage of Schultz at an internal meeting, published by The Post Millennial’s Ari Hoffman on Thursday, revealed the coffee-chain executive blaming elected officials for an environment in which it’s too hostile to operate.
“In my view at the local, state, and federal level, these governments across the country and leaders, mayors, and governors and city councils have abdicated their responsibility in fighting crime and addressing mental illness,” said Schultz, who returned to the company as chief executive in April. “We are going to have to refine and transform and modernize many of the things we do to meet the needs of our customers in a very changing operating environment in which customer behavior is changing.”
In a letter to employees on Monday, Debbie Stroud and Denise Nelson, both Starbucks senior vice presidents, outlined reforms to address inner-city safety issues plaguing corporate stores.
“We read every incident report you file — it’s a lot,” they wrote. “We want you to know that creating a safe, welcoming, and kind third place is our top priority. Because simply put, we cannot serve as partners if we don’t first feel safe at work.”
In March, employees began to unionize after being confronted with a spike in homeless and violent people entering cafes after the company changed its bathroom policy. Following a woke controversy, Starbucks opened its restrooms to all members of the public, even people who weren’t buying anything. Schultz said in that June the four-year-old bathroom policy is now on the chopping block.
“We have to harden our stores and provide safety for our people,” Schultz said last month at a forum sponsored by The New York Times. “I don’t know if we can keep our bathrooms open.”
In the effort to unionize, one employee complained to Jacobin that Starbucks baristas are doubling as “untrained social workers.”
Stroud and Nelson said the company will now be offering staff de-escalation, mental health first aid, and active shooter trainings. The pair also highlighted benefits for employees seeking paid parental leave or abortion.
“We hear the challenges facing you in stores, and we all have a lot more to still figure out — but we know we’ll get there because YOU have shown us, time and again, that our stores can be a place of hope, optimism and community for all,” they wrote.
The overwhelming rise in violent crime plaguing urban population centers run by Democrats has led voters in some California cities to recall their prosecutors. Last week, L.A. County officials said they received enough signatures, 715,833 despite only 566,857 needed, to place a referendum for District Attorney George Gascón on the ballot pending signature verification. The process follows voters in San Francisco successfully ousting District Attorney Chesa Boudin by a 10-point margin last month.