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Tonawanda Baristas ‘Walk Out In Protest’ After Starbucks Fires 13-Year Employee, The Ninth Union Leader In The Buffalo Area Who’s Been Allegedly Fired By Management For Union Activity

Published Sunday, August 7, 2022
by SBWorkersUnited News
Tonawanda Baristas ‘Walk Out In Protest’ After Starbucks Fires 13-Year Employee, The Ninth Union Leader In The Buffalo Area Who’s Been Allegedly Fired By Management For Union Activity

(BUFFALO, NEW YORK) - On Friday (August 6th), two managers at Starbucks’ Tonawanda store fired Sam Amato, a well-respected, 13-year Employee, Starbucks Workers United Union said.  Amato becomes the ninth Union Leader in the Buffalo area to be fired for their organizing activity, said Union Representatives, who have filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) Charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). 

Starbucks claims the reason Amato was fired was due to an incident where he closed the store lobby without permission from management, Union Officials said.

Workers employed at Starbucks’ Tonawanda store were explicitly told by upper management, including former President of Starbucks North America Rossann Williams, that they had the discretion to modify store operations, they added.

“This is the week of my thirteenth anniversary at Starbucks and I was fired,” said Amato, a former Shift Supervisor at the Tonawanda store. “I was fired because I was a Union Leader at my store.  My manager couldn’t even explain to me why they were firing me.  She couldn’t look me in the eye.” 

Additionally, Amato was not the Shift Supervisor who made the decision to close the lobby down that day.

Management refused to acknowledge this piece of information in Sam’s separation meeting, Union Officials said.

In the termination papers provided by Starbucks, the company referenced “coaching sessions” and conversations about Amato’s performance that never occurred, Union Officials said.

This was blatant retaliation for Amato being a Union Leader at his store, they alleged. 

Fellow Starbucks Workers at the Tonawanda store immediately walked off the job and started an ULP Strike after Amato was terminated.

Workers shut down the store on Friday and continued their strike into Saturday (August 6th)

A video capturing Amato’s firing has gone viral and garnered more than 1.6 million views (www.tiktok.com/@sbworkersunited/video/7128489358457457962?_t=8UcCZFqI4pq&_r=1.). 

Starbucks has escalated its Union-Busting Tactics to an unimaginable and absurd degree, the Union says.

To date, according to the Union, more than 75 Starbucks Workers and Union Leaders across the United States have been terminated by the company. 

“I’ve worked so hard and the least this company could have done is explained to me why I was fired, and they couldn’t even do that,” Amato added. “It’s really offensive. It’s shameful.” 

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