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Starbucks workers rally and march in Seattle, WA

Starbucks workers rally and march in Seattle, WA | Photo Credit: Elliot Stoller

March 30, 2023

Starbucks Faces Tense Hearing Over Alleged Union Busting

Ask Students: How have unions changed the working conditions at some Starbucks locations?


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The former CEO of Starbucks went head to head with Democrats on Capitol Hill in a tense hearing over union drives at the company. Howard Schultz’s opposition to unions has long been public, but some lawmakers and labor leaders allege that he made illegal union-busting moves. Congressional Correspondent Lisa Desjardins reports.

For a transcript of this story, click here.

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Discussion Questions

  • Who is Howard Schultz?
  • Why was Schultz called to testify in the Senate?
  • What are some of the ways Schultz has been accused of unfair business practices?
  • When did Starbucks stores begin to unionize?
  • How have unions changed the working conditions at some Starbucks locations?

Focus Questions

What do you think was the purpose of the Senate hearing? What way do you think the Senate might be able to influence labor negotiations?

Media Literacy: Why do you think this story was important to cover? What does it say about current events beyond just Starbucks workers?

Extension Activity

Discuss why do workers unionize. Skim the following three recent stories about unionization and write down the similarities and differences between what each union drive was trying to accomplish. Then discuss, did these drives succeed in making the working lives better for those they represented?

Learn More About the Labor Movement

Do your students know about the history of the labor movement? Help students learn about impact labor activists have had on the course of history, the importance of workers' rights and worker safety.

Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Classroom.

PBS NewsHour Classroom

PBS NewsHour Classroom helps teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories.

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