Starbucks CEO starts petition against government shutdown

Thu Oct 10, 2013 6:13pm EDT
 
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By Atossa Araxia Abrahamian

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Starbucks Corp (SBUX.O: Quote) plans to circulate petitions to customers across the United States urging lawmakers to reopen the partially closed government and avoid a looming default, the coffee chain's CEO Howard Schultz said on Thursday.

Schultz said he was acting because of a "sad and striking realization that the American people have no platform with which to voice their frustration and outrage" over the shutdown, which began last week after Democrats rejected Republican efforts to undercut the Affordable Care Act.

The "voluntary, non-partisan" petition asks Congress and the White House to reopen the government, pay U.S. debts on time, and pass a long-term bipartisan budget deal by the end of the year.

Copies will be available in Starbucks stores, online, and in tear-out ads due to run on Friday in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and the Washington Post. From this Friday through the weekend, people can take a signed petition to a Starbucks store or sign it in a store. They can also sign the petition online.

Schultz also sent letters on Thursday morning to business leaders, encouraging them to sign onto his initiative. He said that he had spoken with leaders of half of the 30 companies listed in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and "every CEO I spoke to shared my concern and my outrage about the situation in Washington."

Schultz would not specify which companies he had contacted.

In addition, Schultz said he had talked to the White House, to Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and to Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), the chairpersons of the Senate and House Budget committees in charge of negotiations over the federal debt limit.

"It was apparent to me that we are on a collision course with time. That is why we made the decision to proceed" Schultz said, of those discussions.   Continued...

 
The Starbucks logo hangs on a window inside a newly designed Starbucks coffee shop in Fountain Valley, California August 22, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake