State Watch

Starbucks fires 7 workers in Memphis amid unionization battle


Starbucks on Tuesday fired seven workers looking to unionize their Memphis branch of the company, according to The New York Times.

A spokesman for the company said that these workers violated safety and security policies before being let go.

However, the union planning to organize the store is accusing Starbucks of firing the employees because of their involvement in the unionization.

Starbucks spokesman Reggie Borges told the Times that the employees were investigated and ultimately fired after an incident in the store where some were found to be unmasked.

The employees interviewed with media representatives after hours at the store, in response to which Borges said, “That is a clear policy violation, not to mention the lack of masks.”

Borges said that the workers violated protocol when they opened a locked door at the store, stayed at the store without authorization after closing, allowed other unauthorized individuals into the store after closing and allowed unauthorized individuals into store areas where access is usually restricted to store employees.

An employee also opened a safe in the store without authorization and was not stopped by a fellow worker.

Two of the workers who had been fired told the Times that some of these violations had never been punished before, citing the fact that employees regularly went to the back of the store to look at their work schedules while they were off duty.

Starbucks Workers United, a union based in New York that also works to unionize Starbucks employees nationwide, filed charges accusing Starbucks of unfair labor practices, saying, “Starbucks chose to selectively enforce policies that have not previously been consistently enforced as a pretext to fire union leaders.”


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