Starbucks has a busy week between business development and Buffalo baristas

2 On Your Side learned about the company and some of the Buffalo baristas who filed labor disputes with the company.

Buffalo, N.Y. — For some, stopping for a coffee in the morning at Starbucks is part of everyday life. But this week was not routine for the company and its employees.

2 On Your Side learned about the business and some of the Buffalo baristas.

“We had record demand today. Laxman is headwinding,” Howard Schultz, the current CEO of Starbucks, told CNBC earlier this week.

So Starbucks announced record profits, but still has labor issues.

Casey Moore is a barista at the Williamsville store and a member of the Starbucks Workers Union organizing committee.

“The company has seen its busiest two-week profit in its 50-year history, and that’s because workers are doing more work. We’re dealing with more customers, and we’re spreading ourselves out,” Moore said.

Amid an investor day in the headquarters city of Seattle and a week of highly caffeinated company protests linked to more union protests, it has been announced that a new CEO will replace longtime company CEO Howard Schultz next year. He is Laxman Narasimhan, a former PepsiCo executive.

Schultz told Narasimhan’s interviewer: “A man steeped in humility who understands and respects Starbucks Coffee Company culture and values. He will be a great, great leader.”

As for the company’s future, Narasimhan said: “We will invest in updating the partner experience. For us to update the customer experience.”

That means building an additional 2,000 Starbucks stores worldwide, for a total of about 45,000, and investing $450 million in new equipment and a more streamlined customer service process in stores. Seattle-based TEGNA’s KING-TV also reported that the company was offering higher wages, student loan repayments and other benefits to workers or “partners” at non-union stores.

But for union baristas seeking contracts in Buffalo and elsewhere, there are pickets as they organize about 230 of the 9,000 U.S. stores, according to the Associated Press.

So Moore said there is some hope for Narasimhan’s new leadership, but it’s still lingering.

“We probably want him to be different from Howard Schultz. I think the ultimate hope is that he doesn’t continue the scorched-earth union movement that Howard Schultz led as CEO,” Moore said.

The pressure has persisted as Buffalo barista union members continued to press the company this week in Congress and the National Labor Relations Board to rehire some fired baristas known to be active in the union.

Moore concluded: “There is no question that all of this is a response to the efforts of our organization.”

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