NEW YORK – The chairman of Starbucks American coffee retailer promised on Sunday, January 29, to hire 10,000 refugees in its branches worldwide over the next five years, in a clear challenge to President Trump’s refugees ban targeting Muslim majority countries.
“I write to you today with deep concern, a heavy heart and a resolute promise,” Howard Schultz, the coffee retailer’s chairman and CEO, said in a letter to employees posted on the company’s website Sunday cited by Daily Sabah.
“We are living in an unprecedented time, one in which we are witness to the conscience of our country, and the promise of the American Dream, being called into question.”
The promise came after President Trump signed an executive order that temporarily bans entry to refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, and Syria.
Schultz, a Democratic Party supporter, said that Starbucks had been in contact with employees affected by the new Republican president’s executive order signed Friday.
The hiring would apply to stores worldwide and the effort would start in the United States where the focus would be on hiring immigrants “who have served with US troops as interpreters and support personnel.”
The CEO said the refugee hires would be fleeing war, persecution and discrimination in the 75 countries where the company operates.
Schultz also rejected Trump’s suggested wall on the southern border with Mexico.
“Building bridges, not walls, with Mexico,” he wrote, voicing support for the country that has provided Starbucks with coffee for three decades and where nearly 600 Starbucks coffee shops employ 7,000 people.
“We stand ready to help and support our Mexican customers, partners and their families as they navigate what impact proposed trade sanctions, immigration restrictions and taxes might have on their business and their trust of Americans.
“But we will continue to invest in this critically important market all the same.”
Businesses have been facing increasing complexity when dealing with the Trump administration.
Trump has met with CEOs at Ford, General Motors and Boeing and asked them to create jobs in the United States, while touting each announcement about new factory jobs as a success even if those additions had been planned before his presidential victory.
Close to Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate who lost to Trump in the November election, Schultz added that Starbucks would aim to communicate with workers more frequently.
“I am hearing the alarm you all are sounding that the civility and human rights we have all taken for granted for so long are under attack.”