Starbucks and Amazon Really Don’t Like Democracy

3 min readSep 17, 2022

Like Trump they want election results to be overturned.

CEO Howard Schultz wants all election votes suspended spreading rumors about mail in ballot fraud. Sound familiar? © Vanity Fair

Over the last two years former President Donald Trump demonized and denied that he lost the election fair and square. Instead of listening to the majority that voted against him, the Donald actively tried to overturn the election results using every trick in the book. And that trick is now being ruthlessly employed by Amazon and Starbucks.

Both Starbucks and Amazon got started in my home state of Washington, a state where unions represent nearly 1/5 of the population. Yet instead of listening to them like Trump they are shamefully trying to overturn the will of voters because they don’t like the outcome.

According to the Seattle Times both companies which claim to listen to their workforce and respect their decisions (you know…democracy) are employing Trumpian tactics to overturn results they despise much as former President Trump did.

But rather than honoring their employees’ freedom to choose unionization, both companies are fighting to deny workers’ right to bargain collectively for better wages and working conditions. Both companies stand accused of harassing or firing union supporters, and in Starbucks’ case, of closing several stores where employees voted to unionize. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the federal agency that oversees union elections, has determined that Starbucks broke federal law by firing workers for organizing, most recently seven workers illegally fired for union activity in Memphis.

But the companies haven’t stopped there. They are trying to undermine confidence in union election results. They know they’re losing, so they’ve adopted an eerily familiar playbook; wild accusations of fraud.

Amazon continues to contest the results of the Staten Island workers’ union victory, which was won by more than 500 votes and 11 percentage points.

Starbucks has gone a step further, seeking to suspend all union elections at its stores, claiming without evidence that the NLRB has been cheating to help the workers unionize. Specifically, Starbucks wants to cast doubt on the legitimacy of mail-in ballots and force workers to cast votes in-person, hoping for lower turnout.

Where have we heard that before?

At a time when fair elections are under attack across the nation, I’m proud to live in a state that values this democratic institution. Thanks to mail-in ballots and other steps we’ve taken to promote voting, Washington just experienced one of the highest primary voter turnouts in the nation, without any evidence of voter fraud.

Suspending all elections? Wild Accusations of Voter Fraud? Who does THAT sound like?

Does that sound like a company that respects essential workers? Does suspending mail in ballots sound like Democracy to you?

No, it doesn’t it sounds like a dictatorship. The same kind of dictatorship that Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis envision happening where you cage people from voter rolls, make voting more difficult, limit mail in ballots, and spread BS rumors that erupt like the California wildfires.

These corporations need to be held accountable especially if they freeze local elections where workers have a choice to vote whether or not to unionize. After the worst pandemic these workers sacrificed their health and risk of getting COVID as essential workers to keep the economy running even as hazard pay was ripped away 6 months before the first vaccine was available. As both CEOs profited from this pandemic their employees experienced little to no wage increase. The least we can do is let essential workers have a free and fair election at the ballot box.

Local elections are the pillar of democracy and that extends to a vote asking a majority of employees of corporations that if they want to unionize or not. Overturning an election result doesn’t make you a good company, it makes you Donald Trump.




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