Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz — who was rumored to be on Hillary Clinton’s Cabinet “wish list” for the position of Secretary of Labor — has responded in a bold way to President Donald Trump’s executive order to temporarily ban travel from seven Muslim-majority nations.
In a letter to Starbucks’s 150,000 global employees entitled “Living Our Values in Uncertain Times,” Schultz pledged the company’s intent to hire 10,000 refugees within the next five years around the world.
Schultz opened his letter with an acknowledgment of the “confusion, surprise and opposition” brought on by the executive order and said that the Seattle-based company will not “stand silent” in the wake of the travel ban.
Schultz stated that Starbucks plans to start its process of hiring refugees in the United States, and that those who have served in the U.S. military as translators and interpreters will be the “focus” of the company’s hiring initiative.
In a subheading of the same letter, Schultz stressed his desire to “[Build] bridges, not walls, with Mexico.” Starbucks, which employs 7,000 employees in its 600 stores across Mexico, has enjoyed a nearly-three-decades-long relationship with coffee-producing farmers in the country. The company is vowing to “help and support” Mexican customers and employees who may be affected by any future trade sanctions, taxes, and immigrations restrictions imposed by the United States.
Starbucks currently has no stores in the seven countries listed in President Trump’s executive order, but the company does have stores in several Muslim-majority nations including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Indonesia.
Schultz ended his message with a call for unity, concluding that the company seeks to “nurture the human spirit” in neighborhoods across the world: “whether that neighborhood is in a Red State or a Blue State; a Christian country or a Muslim country; a divided nation or a united nation.”