Starbucks employees’ faith in the firm’s ethics and social impact has hit a record low as rows continue over staff’s attempts to unionize.

White-collar staff at the coffee chain raised their concerns in an internal survey, which showed dissatisfaction in the company’s reaction to staff forming and joining unions.

The survey found 52 percent of corporate staff polling  “completely agree” that Starbucks “behaves in an ethical and responsible manner.”

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Slightly fewer, 48 percent, responded they were “proud of the role Starbucks has in making a social impact.”

However, both statistics were “historic lows,” according to a chart displayed at the meeting. 

Just 42 percent of employees said that the Seattle giant “lives up to its mission and values.”

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And only slightly more than a quarter believed “Starbucks leaders make the right decisions for the company.” 

The coffee house said the study is part of its attempts to engage with its staff.

It gives a rare glance inside the Seattle-based corporation as it deals with unionization at its US stores.

It also reflects how Starbucks’ clashes with retail workers have shifted corporate-employee sentiment.

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The increasingly bitter war with the union is now expected to undo the work on the brand that interim CEO Howard Schultz has presented for decades.

Sara Kelly, Chief Partner Officer, attributed the falling scores to two “tension points.”

These are skepticism about returning to work and fears about the company’s response to the union organizing drive.

The company said the survey shows outsiders’ perspectives have had a significant impact on employees’ perception of what is taking place.

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The study drew responses from 86 percent of its corporate staff.

A spokesperson said Starbucks is “regularly engaging our partners for feedback” as part of an “ongoing effort to work side-by-side to build a company that better delivers on our mission and values.”

Over the previous year, the general counsel of the US National Labor Relations Board has issued several outstanding complaints against Starbucks.

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The agency accused it of unlawfully attempting to suppress unionization at its retail stores.

Alleged breaches include threatening, interrogating, and firing pro-union workers, and surveillance on them in order to thwart labor organizers.

Some staff questioned why the firm was trying so much to oppose unionization in online comments made during the meeting.

They expressed concern about how the labor conflict might harm the company’s reputation.

Source: Bloomberg

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