A Major Anti-Union Starbucks Executive Is Leaving The Company

The push by Starbucks employees to unionize has been going on for about 10 months. During this time, one of the most prominent opposers has been Rossann Williams, executive vice president of Starbucks North America. But at the end of June, she will be leaving the coffee giant. According to the Nation's Restaurant News, a letter was sent to employees to announce that Williams would be leaving after she declined a new position within the company. She has been with Starbucks for 17 years and is the third executive that the company has lost in the last couple of months.

Employees at over 150 Starbucks stores in the U.S. have voted to unionize so far (via SB Workers United). Workers have sought union elections in about 275 of the company's stores, per The New York Times. In the 175 elections where a winner has been declared, the union has prevailed in over 80 percent of them.

Williams led push against unionization

Williams' stepping down may be seen as another victory for the union. The Nation's Restaurant News explained that she has been at "the forefront of the anti-union response." Three stores in the Buffalo, N.Y.-area were the first come together and to seek forming a union last fall. In a letter sent to employees that was tweeted out by SB Workers United, Williams urged employees to vote against the union.

The New York Times said she also spent much of her time in the fall at the Buffalo stores to find out more about their concerns and help with basic tasks. But this raised issues with the National Labor Relations Board about possible intimidation tactics and violation of labor laws. Per The New York Times, Starbucks Chief Operating Officer John Culver was quoted as saying that Williams "has not only been a fierce advocate for our partners, but she has been a champion of our mission, our culture and operational excellence." Williams will be replaced by Sara Trilling, who has 20 years of experience with Starbucks and heads up the company's Asia Pacific division.