Roseann Williams, the president of Starbucks North America and a key player in the business’s campaign against employee unionization, is leaving the firm after 17 years.
(AP) SEATTLE — Rossann Williams, the president of Starbucks North America and a key player in the business’s campaign against employee unionization, is leaving the firm after 17 years.
Starbucks’ chief operating officer, John Culver, stated in a statement to the company’s “partners” that the decision “was not taken lightly” and that Williams had been allowed to accept another position there.
In the meantime, Sara Trilling was given the position of executive vice president and head of Starbucks North America. Trilling has worked with Starbucks for 20 years; most recently, he was Hong Kong’s senior vice president and president of Starbucks Asia Pacific.
Starbucks is one of the most well-known businesses now experiencing unionization campaigns among their hourly employees. At a company-owned Starbucks location in the United States, a Buffalo location became the first to unionize in December. The National Labor Relations Board reports that since then, at least 150 of Starbucks’ 9,000 company-run U.S. stores have voted to unionize, and at least 10 stores have rejected the union.
Williams stated in a letter to employees last year that while Starbucks has never supported unionization and prefers to speak directly with staff, it respects the legal system and wishes to cooperate with Buffalo voters who chose to support union representation.
Federal labor regulators, however, said in April of this year that Starbucks had retaliated against employees in Phoenix after learning that those workers wanted to form a union.
The petition stated that among other things, Starbucks “revised recently granted accommodations, punished, suspended, and terminated one employee, constructively discharged another, and placed a third on an unpaid leave of absence.”
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