Starbucks Gets Boycotted Again, This Time for Plan to Hire 10,000 Refugees

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After President Trump announced on Friday that he had made an executive order barring citizens of seven Muslim countries from entering the U.S. and halting refugee access to the U.S. for all refugees for 90 days and indefinitely for refugees from Syria, Starbucks announced its intent to hire 10,000 refugees in the next five years.

According to ABC News, Starbucks chairman and CEO and actual billionaire Howard Schultz announced the initiative on Sunday. In his letter to employees, Schultz said the refugee recruitment drive would happen across all Starbucks worldwide, and that it would begin with and be focused on the U.S. Schultz’s particular goal is to hire immigrants “who have served with U.S. troops as interpreters and support personnel.”

That all sounds pretty nice. Hiring refugees is great, and should calm all the people who are worried about refugees coming to the U.S. and becoming “welfare queens.” See? There are jobs! And the immigrants who aided the U.S. troops as interpreters and support personnel are heroes who should be treated as such. But of course there’s a backlash. It wouldn’t be Monday if someone wasn’t trying to boycott Starbucks for “spreading gay ebola“, making insufficiently Christmasy holiday cups, or putting a random design on a cup that was not even intended to be a holiday cup.

In fact, does this even count as a boycott? Surely most of the people announcing boycotts now are already boycotting over the latest Christmas thing.

So there’s a new #BoycottStarbucks hashtag going around, and the rallying cry of the anti-immigrant and anti-refugee-hiring faction is “veterans!” as people insist that they’re not anti-immigrant or anti-refugee or just straight-up racist, but that they’re really concerned about veterans. That’d be fine, except that in 2013 Starbucks announced its goal of hiring 10,000 veterans by 2018, and they’re at 8,000 now.  Starbucks already has a program designed to recruit and hire veterans and military spouses, and the company touts its “veteran-friendly workplace.” Also, the first people Schultz is trying to hire are immigrants who served with U.S. troops.

The Starbucks veterans’ initiative involves transition support, information for prospective employees about how military skills apply to Starbucks jobs, and the College Achievement Plan that lets employees get a tuition-free bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University’s online program. (That benefit is applicable to all Starbucks employees, but veterans get an additional one to give to a family member.) Starbucks also pays active duty and reservist employees for the time they can’t work because of military service obligations.

Starbucks is always getting boycotted, either for pushing for healthcare, advocating for equal marriage, saying “happy holidays,” or supporting refugees. That doesn’t appear to have hurt business any, because Starbucks is still growing. Heck, the boycotts always make me buy more Starbucks than I otherwise might. There’s a little voice in my head that says, “Buying coffee is fiscally irresponsible! There are too many calories! If you gave up Starbucks you would save $58,000 a year!”But when news like this breaks it’s like, “Oh, well now I have to go buy a big coffee, and maybe one of those new Nutella-filled or ham and cheese croissants. I have to do my part to counteract a boycotter.”

Not sure if getting whipped cream today will help counteract a boycotter, but I’m doing it anyway.