People are boycotting Starbucks after CEO announces plan to hire thousands of refugees

Some Starbucks customers are threatening to boycott the coffee giant, after the CEO took a stand against President Trump’s executive order barring immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US. 

On Sunday, Starbucks announced it plans to hire 10,000 refugees worldwide in the next five years.

“We are living in an unprecedented time, one in which we are witness to the conscience of our country, and the promise of the American Dream, being called into question,” CEO Howard Schultz wrote in a letter to Starbucks employees about the plan. 

While many customers were immediately supportive of Starbucks’ actions on social media, others threatened to boycott after the letter’s release.

“Upon hearing about your decision to hire 10000 refugees instead of Americans I will no longer spend any money at Starbucks,” one such Facebook user wrote on Starbucks’ page. 

Many said they were angry that Starbucks was hiring refugees instead of veterans. In fact, Starbucks does have a program in place to support veterans and their families, hiring 8,000 veterans and military spouses since 2014.

Starbucks has no plans to end its program to hire veterans. 

Other users said that the plan to give jobs to refugees would make it harder for Americans to get jobs. However, the 10,000 hires will be spread out over the 75 countries where the company does business. 

Some felt that Schultz was needlessly political in his plan to hire refugees.

Schultz has long been vocal regarding his progressive beliefs as CEO of Starbucks. In September, he endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, and would have reportedly been Clinton’s pick for secretary of labour had she won the election. 

This is not the first time there has been an online movement to protest Starbucks.

In November, Twitter user Baked Alaska encouraged followers to go to Starbucks and tell the employees that their names are Trump, in an effort to “normalize Trump” and the populist, white-supremacist alt-right movement. When Starbucks debuted a green cup intended to promote unity in the week leading up to the election, social media users accused the coffee chain of “political brainwashing.”

Despite the protests, Schultz seems unlikely to back down from his political stances. 

In Sunday’s letter, the CEO also expressed his support for undocumented immigrants who are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, as well as Mexican employees and customers. The letter restated Starbucks’ policy that, if workers are eligible for benefits, they will have the option to access to health insurance through the company, whether or not the Affordable Care Act is repealed. 

“I also want to take this opportunity to announce specific actions we are taking to reinforce our belief in our partners around the world and to ensure you are clear that we will neither stand by, nor stand silent, as the uncertainty around the new Administration’s actions grows with each passing day,” Schultz wrote. 

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