Howard Schultz, the Chief Executive Officer of Starbucks, has added another pro-worker notch to his belt: support for increasing the minimum wage.
Schultz already has a relatively good reputation on workers’ issues; his company offers health care to all of its employees, and doesn’t mind spending more on health care than on coffee. Starbucks also launched, in 2011, a a pro-jobs effort where patrons could donate to a loan program that helps small businesses keep jobs and hire.
Now, he is tentatively putting his weight behind the Democratic push to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to something more like $9 or $10 an hour. In an interview with CNBC, Schultz said, “I am a supporter of the minimum wage going up”:
Howard Schultz, the head of the global coffee giant, told CNBC Wednesday that “the minimum wage issue is a double-edged sword,” because while boosting it would mean higher wages for workers, it may also discourage businesses from hiring more people.
“On balance, I am a supporter of the minimum wage going up,” he said. “We’ve got to be very careful what we wish for because some employers — and there could be a lot of them — will be scared away from hiring new people or creating incremental hours for part-time people as a result of that wage going up.”
Last week, House Republicans voted down a proposal pushed by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) that would have raised the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. The Senate has made no motions to improve the wage. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), however, has pointed out that the minimum wage would be $22 an hour if it had been adjusted for inflation and worker productivity. Indexed to inflation alone, it would stand at $10.40.
Schultz is joined in his support for an increased minimum wage by Costco CEO Craig Jelinek. Jelinek, however, has said he would actually like to see it rise higher than $10 an hour.