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Starbucks’ Plan to Hire 10,000 Refugees Sparks Controversy and Boycotts


starbucks-refugeesEarlier this week, Starbucks announced its commitment to hire 10,000 refugees over the next five years.  The move was announced in a statement opposing President Trump’s executive order barring people from seven majority-Muslim countries and all refugees from entering the US. Many Starbucks customers applauded the plan; but others have threatened to boycott the chain.

Those who opposed Starbucks’ plan say the company should support American veterans (and other needy citizens) instead.

In one widely-distributed Tweet, a Twitter user wrote “Instead of hiring 10,000 AMERICAN VETERANS, #Starbucks has decided to hire 10,000 ‘refugees,’ Calling on all Americans to #BoycottStarbucks!”

Many others echoed the sentiment, including conservative and pro-Trump accounts that expressed anger over the fact that Starbucks isn’t hiring veterans.

But as it turns out, Starbucks moved to do exactly that 4 years ago.

In 2013, the coffee giant announced a pledge to hire 10,000 veterans by the end of 2018 — essentially the same commitment CEO Howard Schultz made this past weekend to help refugees. The company claims it is close to its goal, having hired more than 8,000 veterans and military spouses since 2014.

Scott Baio, an actor and outspoken Trump supporter, demanded that Starbucks answer for why it wasn’t putting its efforts behind hiring “unemployed Blacks, Hispanics, & Veterans.”

The coffee giant responded with links to a press release on its recent work to open stores in lower-income communities and a website on its veteran outreach.

All week, Starbucks has been flooded with threats of a boycott. But many others have come forward to support Schultz’s opposition to the executive order and his support for refugees.

Schultz has been outspoken about his political beliefs over the years. He openly endorsed Democratic party nominee Hillary Clinton for president in September and reportedly would have been Clinton’s first choice for secretary of labor if she had won the election.

“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,” Schultz wrote in a letter to Starbucks employees announcing the plan on Sunday.

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