BUFFALO, N.Y. — For some people stopping at Starbucks for a morning cup of coffee is part of the daily routine. But this week has been anything but routine for the company and its workers.
2 On Your Side took a look at what's going on with the business and with some Buffalo baristas.
Starbucks Current CEO Howard Schultz told CNBC earlier this week, "We have record demand today. Laxman is coming in with the wind at his back."
So Starbucks proclaimed record profits but still with percolating labor issues.
Casey Moore is a barista at the Williamsville store and a member of the organizing committee with Starbucks Workers United.
"The company has seen its busiest best two weeks of profit in its 50-year history, and that's because workers are doing more jobs. We're dealing with more customers, we're spreading ourselves thin," Moore said.
In a week of highly caffeinated corporate developments tied to Investor Day in headquarters city Seattle and more union protests out there, a new CEO has been announced to next year replace longtime corporate Chief Howard Schultz. He is former Pepsi executive Laxman Narasimhan.
Schultz said this to an interviewer about Narasimhan: "Someone who's steeped in humility and understands and respects the culture and values of Starbucks coffee company. He's going to be a great, great leader."
And as for the firm's future, Narasimhan said, "There will be investments made in order for us to renew the partner experience. In order for us to renew the customer experience."
That means building another 2,000 Starbucks stores to total some 45,000 worldwide and an investment of $450 million for new equipment and a more streamlined customer service process in their stores. TEGNA station KING-TV in Seattle also reports the company is offering better wages, repaid student loans, and other benefits for their workers or "partners" in non-union stores.
But for unionized baristas seeking a contract here in Buffalo and elsewhere, there have been informational pickets, as they have organized about 230 of the 9,000 U.S. stores, according to Associated Press.
So Moore says there is some hope with incoming new leadership in Narasimhan but lingering hard feelings.
"We're maybe hoping beyond hope that he will be different than Howard Schultz. I think that's the ultimate hope is that he won't continue the scorched earth union campaign that Howard Schultz has lead as CEO," Moore said.
And there's been ongoing pressure as a Buffalo barista union member testified on conditions this week before Congress and the National Labor Relations Board is still pressing the company to rehire some dismissed baristas known to be active with the union.
Moore concluded: "There's no question at all in the slightest that all of this is in response to our organizing efforts."