Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said he supports an increase to federal minimum wage even though it could have “traumatic effects” on small business owners and employees.
In an interview with CNN Money’s Poppy Harlow, Schultz declined to say what he thinks the minimum wage should be, but he said the $15 minimum wage enacted in his home state “is the right thing to do in Seattle—and the right thing do in the country.” He acknowledged, however, that $15 per hour nationwide “could be a job killer for small business.”
Patrick Tyrrell, research coordinator in the Center for Data Analysis at The Heritage Foundation, suspects other factors might factor into Schultz’s thinking.
“If the small business coffee shop down the street can’t afford to hire people, Starbucks stores—which are 100 percent corporately owned—will have less competition,” Tyrrell said. “So what’s bad for small businesses could be good for Schultz.”
This isn’t Schultz’s first foray into politics. Last year, he mounted a national “Come Together” campaign, centered around the government shutdown, urging Americans to use coffeehouses to meet and work out their differences and to get government back to work.
Schultz also recently announced a “College Achievement Plan,” which offers Starbucks baristas free tuition at Arizona State University.