MARGARITA HOVSEPYAN


Java Giant’s Promise to Refugees Shortchanges Veterans


OPINION: The effort to employ 10,000 refugees should be redirected to aid American servicemen instead.


With more than 22,000 stores worldwide, and an annual income of 2.82 billion dollars, Starbucks is the leader of the coffeehouse industry.

In response to Donald Trump’s travel ban to seven predominantly Muslim countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — the company has pledged to hire 10,000 refugees worldwide.

This decision is similar to the promise that CEO and chairman of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, made in 2013 when he vowed to hire 10,000 American veterans by the end of 2018.

“[We will] start this effort here in the U.S. by making the initial focus of our hiring efforts on those individuals who have served with U.S. troops as interpreters and support personnel in the various countries where our military has asked for such support,” said a Starbucks representative.

Since the release of this statement, Starbucks has received backlash and anger from many. The hashtag, #BoycottStarbucks, even became the highest trending on Twitter.

Critics are enraged that Starbucks seems to be going back on its promise to hire veterans and active personal and switching its goal toward aiding refugees, even though it has hired more than 8,000 former military members.

After similar complaints that Starbucks was not being active enough in its efforts, the company held a press conference was offering even more benefits and recognition to its veterans

In response to all the backlash, the Starbucks Armed Forces Network—which has offered support to veterans and their spouses since 2007—wrote an open letter to Starbucks customers in February expressing their shock. “We are here to say: check your facts, Starbucks is already there” the letter read.

Howard Schultz’s goals are admirable and respectable. He is taking a stand against what he views to be the unfair treatment that refugees are facing from President Trump, but this new pledge is not really fair.

The program to help American veterans shows respect for those who fought for this nation. It also expresses much needed and much deserved gratitude.

But the same cannot be said of foreign refugees from predominantly Muslim nations who have vocally demonstrated their discontent for Western values and America.

These refugees have done nothing for America, so why should they receive this aid from Starbucks?

It may also be the case that promising jobs for 10,000 refugees could mean that some current employees might have to be fired to fulfill this promise in five years.

Loyal employees should not be robbed of their jobs because they aren’t refugees themselves.

Starbucks should reconsider its promise to the refugees and put even more effort into helping American veterans.