Starbucks may have found itself at the center of a hiring controversy this week, but a veterans group is now coming to the coffee chain's defense.
Within days after the Trump administration implemented a temporary immigration ban barring visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries, Starbucks founder and CEO Howard Schultz, announced that the company would hire 10,000 refugees in the next five years.
Many supporters of the president became outraged, arguing that Schultz should be hiring American veterans instead of refugees and vowing to boycott the coffee chain in response.
But Starbucks has been actively hiring veterans since 2013–- 8,800 to be exact.
The Starbucks Armed Forces Network (AFN) was founded in 2007 and provides support for its current and former military employees and their partners.
A small group of AFN members were also instrumental in helping the company launch its commitment to hire 10,000 veterans and military spouses by the year 2018.
To help quell the furor that erupted this week, the veteran’s group fired back, writing an open letter to detractors in defense of the global coffee chain.
The group says the intention of the letter is to “address misinformation that has been circulating since our company announced their commitment to hire 10,000 refugees around the world.”
They say they’ve “seen first-hand the hard work and dedication of our fellow employees to transform Starbucks into one of the preeminent veteran-friendly companies in America.”
The letter specifically pays tribute to Schultz, detailing how “Howard encouraged Starbucks senior leaders to visit our military bases and get to know our military on a personal level, knowing it would lead them to hire more veterans and their spouses. And much, much more.”
Ending on a conciliatory note, the group says, “We respect honest debate and the freedom of expression. Many of us served to protect that very right. Some of our brothers and sisters died protecting it. But to those who would suggest Starbucks is not committed to hiring veterans, we are here to say: check your facts, Starbucks is already there.”
For the full statement go here.