Investor group led by Trillium urges Starbucks to respect union vote, proceed ‘expeditiously’

Investors representing trillions in assets under management are urging Starbucks to respect the workers who voted successfully Thursday to organize at least one local cafe in Buffalo, New York.

Signatories include New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, the Northwest Coalition For Responsible Investment, the Sustainable Advisors Alliance and more. Trillium holds about $48 million worth of Starbucks shares.

“We are writing to urge the Company to accept the results of the December 2021 election and proceed expeditiously and in good faith according to the results,” the letter states.

“As investors, we believe that Starbucks should abide by international standards and best practices and its own words about engaging in good faith with workers to maintain positive labor relations,” it continued. “Effective human capital management is a key performance indicator that a growing number of investors prioritize.”

Starbucks didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the group’s remarks.

The letter also raises concerns that Starbucks meddled in the election process by closing stores and sending top executives, including Rossann Williams, Starbucks North American executive vice president and Howard Schultz, its former CEO, to Buffalo. The coffee giant has denied these claims, saying it was responding to employee concerns directly.