Months after Starbucks stores began to unionize across the country, the company announced today that CEO Kevin Johnson has retired, making way for former CEO Howard Schultz to take his place once again. 

Johnson has led the coffee chain since 2017 and was Schultz’s successor. Last year, Johnson had told employees and the board of the company he was considering retirement after 13 years at the company. According to NPR, Schultz accepted the title of interim CEO for the compensation of $1.

“A year ago, I signaled to the Board that as the global pandemic neared an end, I would be considering retirement from Starbucks,” Johnson said in a company statement, “I feel this is a natural bookend to my 13 years with the company.”

Schultz started working as CEO at Starbucks in 1976 to 2000, then 2008 to 2017. The news of Schultz’s return comes coincidentally close to the current labor movement and rising prices. According to HuffPost, Schultz has a long history of being an anti-union CEO at Starbucks. Schultz is joining as interim president, making it unclear how long he will stay.

“I was convinced that under my leadership, employees would come to realize that I would listen to their concerns,” said Howard Schultz in his memoir Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built A Company One Cup At A Time. “If they had faith in me and my motives, they wouldn’t need a union.”

In 2004, a few New York locations of the coffee chain decided to unionize, but did not successfully organize after Schultz sent out a company-wide message expressing disappointment. In 2008, an administrative law judge ruled that actions by Starbucks and the company's leadership discriminated against pro-union workers. These past actions by Schultz’s could threaten the Starbucks union organizing occurring in the present day.

The National Labor Relations Board also just issued a complaint against Starbucks yesterday, stating that the coffee company had unlawfully retaliated against pro-union workers in Pheonix. As of right now, more than 130 Starbucks locations have petitioned for union votes according to NPR. Currently, there are about six Starbucks stores that have successfully unionized by Starbucks Workers United, mostly in the Buffalo, New York area.