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  • Writer's pictureStrategic Resource Group

Starbucks Union Votes are CEO Failure, Flickinger Says

Updated: Dec 29, 2022

Orange County Register: Two Starbucks stores, one in Lakewood and the other in Long Beach, are the first in Southern California to vote to join a union. Employees at a Starbucks in Lakewood voted 24-1 earlier this week to join Starbucks Workers United. Just before noon on Friday, employees at the Starbucks at the corner of Redondo Avenue and 7th Street in Long Beach voted 13-0 to unionize. Two other stores in Santa Cruz were the first in California to vote to join SWU earlier this week.

Burt Flickinger, managing director for the retail consulting firm Strategic Resource Group, said Starbucks management has failed to effectively listen to and address employee concerns since former CEO Jim Donald left the company 14 years ago.

“He was what my father used to call an ‘odometer CEO,’ ” Flickinger said. “What he meant by that was that Jim Donald had a lot of miles on his odometer because he was always in stores and very hands-on with employees. The current president (Kevin Johnson) is much less that way.”


Strategic Resource Group is the lead retail and brand CPG consulting firm throughout the United States and the globe. With more than three decades of experience, our team strategically collaborates with top retail chains, wholesalers, suppliers, and investment firms. Our retail industry experts are highly skilled at illuminating retail trends, identifying opportunities to increase consumption, and growing retail sales.

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