Press Release from the National Center for Public Policy Research:
National Center for Public Policy Research to Discuss Concerns About Corporate Efforts to Stifle Freedom of Speech and Association at Annual Meeting of Starbucks Shareholders
Free Enterprise Project’s Efforts Have So Far Extended Workplace Protections to More than Five Million Americans
Seattle, WA / Washington, D.C. – Ahead of tomorrow’s annual meeting of Starbucks shareholders in Seattle, Washington, the National Center for Public Policy Research is promoting its Employee Conscience Protection Project shareholder resolution aimed at protecting the beverage giant’s employees from potential discrimination stemming from political activities.
“In America today, many Americans are at risk of losing their job or being demoted for their private political beliefs and actions. We have seen this totalitarian mindset creep into the corporate arena, where CEOs and hourly employees alike have been dismissed specifically because of their conservative political positions,” said National Center Free Enterprise Project Director Justin Danhof, Esq. “Our proposal would protect all Starbucks employees from any such adverse employment action. Whether liberal, conservative, libertarian or green, no employee of a publicly-held company should fear for his or her job because of legal, private civic or political activity.”
The National Center’s proposal is on page 55 of Starbucks’ proxy statement, which is available for download here.
“With support from the company’s investors tomorrow, I am confident that Starbucks’ management will join with so many other industry leaders in adopting our proposal,” added Danhof. “Civic and political engagement has reached anemic levels in America. If employers make it clear that no employee’s job is at risk because of that individual’s private political beliefs and activities, perhaps more people will engage with their political leaders and communities. We think that is a good thing.”
The genesis for the National Center’s Employee Conscience Protection Project occurred in April 2014 when the CEO of Mozilla, Brendan Eich, was forced out of his job simply because he had donated to a 2008 California referendum that defined marriage as between one man and one woman. Unfortunately, Mr. Eich is not uniquely situated. Only about half of American workers live in a jurisdiction that provides statutory protection against employer retaliation for engaging in First Amendment activities. And some of these laws are weaker than others. Furthermore, many corporations do not offer this protection as a condition of employment.
Announced just a year ago, the National Center’s Employee Conscience Protection Project has already protected more than five million American workers from potential political discrimination. The project has also received significant media attention, including coverage by the San Francisco Chronicle, Politico and the Daily Caller. Danhof also appeared multiple times as a featured guest on One America News Network’s “The Rick Amato Show” to discuss various aspects of the project (here and here).
The National Center’s Free Enterprise Project is the nation’s preeminent free-market activist group focusing on shareholder activism and the confluence of big government and big business. In 2014-15, National Center representatives participated in 69 shareholder meetings advancing free-market ideals in the areas of health care, energy, taxes, subsidies, regulations, religious freedom, food policies, media bias, gun rights, workers’ rights and many other important public policy issues. Tomorrow’s Starbucks meeting marks its fourth shareholder meeting of 2016.
The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations, and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors. Sign up for free issue alerts here or follow us on Twitter at @NationalCenter.