Coffee giant Starbucks, once a corporate warrior for wokeism and bleeding heart liberalism, is growing up. While resisting efforts of outside forces to unionize its stores, the company announced plans to close 16 locations due to crime and violence.
It’s one thing to be all in for peace and love, but it becomes quite another when personal safety is threatened. The company politely calls the threats to the safety of its employees and customers “challenging incidents.”
Not surprisingly, all 16 are in bastions of Democratic leadership including Seattle, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Portland, Oregon. Six are around its Seattle home, and many have reported a surge in violent and property crimes.
All 16 are permanently closing by the end of the month.
In a telling letter sent to company employees Monday, the company listed issues faced in these markets. They include “personal safety, racism, lack of access to healthcare, a growing mental health crisis, drug use” and more.
Employees from the permanently closed locations will be offered reassignment at other stores.
The company recently moved to give managers discretion to deny free access to bathrooms, a reversal of policy that allowed anyone off the street to have access. Interim CEO Howard Schultz recently said that having the restaurants also serve as public restrooms became a safety issue.
Starbucks is also establishing training on de-escalation of potentially violent situations. This includes active shooter training, protest response, and something called “customer restriction procedures.” Some alternatives include modifying store hours, adjusting layouts, and staffing changes.
Permanent closure of locations will be considered when concerns cannot be met otherwise.
Starbucks faces a small but growing organized labor movement, and two of the Seattle locations set for closure were already unionized. Over 130 of the more than 9,000 coffee shops in North America have chosen to organize.
Labor activists, of course, accuse the company of targeting these stores.
The coffee giant is becoming a grownup company with grownup issues. It faces the same urban blight that Democratic-run cities across the country face along with the headaches of outside agitators pushing workers to unionize. Welcome to adulthood.