“We Want To Let Our Customers Know What Starbucks Is Doing To Us And We Want Them To Have Our Back.” - After Starbucks ‘Fires More Than 10’ Union Leaders In Buffalo, Baristas ‘Respond With City-Wide’ Informational Picket
(BUFFALO, NEW YORK) – After Starbucks fired more than 10 area Union Leaders in alleged retaliation for their Union Organizing efforts, Starbucks Workers joined with their Labor and community allies on Tuesday (September 6th) to picket the National Coffee Chain’s 20 stores across the region in order to publicly denounce Starbucks’ Union-Busting Campaign.
The recent firing of Sam Amato, a 13-year Employee at the Sheridan and Bailey Avenue Store, and Allegra Anastasi, an eight-year Partner at the Delaware Avenue-Chippewa Street
Store, was the final straw for many Buffalo Starbucks Baristas.
“Buffalo is a Union Town and Starbucks messed with the wrong city,” said Michelle Eisen, a leader of the Union effort at the Elwood Avenue store. “Firing people like Sam and Allegra was the worst decision they could have made.”
The organizing effort began in Buffalo last Summer, when 50 Starbucks Workers wrote a letter to former Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson announcing their intention to Unionize.
In response, Starbucks sent more than 100 corporate managers, executives and HR officials to spy, threaten and intimidate their Workers, the Union said.
With the return of CEO Howard Schultz to the helm of the company, Starbucks has launched a scorched-earth Union-Busting Campaign across the Nation that now includes terminating Union Leaders and closing down Unionized stores.
“We want to let our customers know what Starbucks is doing to us,” said Sam Amato, one of the fired Workers, “and we want them to have our back.”
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is currently prosecuting Starbucks for more than 200 violations of Labor Law in Western New York alone, including seven instances where the NLRB says Starbucks illegally fired Workers.
Region 3 of the NLRB issued a second official complaint accusing the Coffeehouse Giant of threatening to close down the Elmwood store, denying Workers’ transfers and retaliating against Workers for their Union activity.
During Labor Day Weekend, a Gallup Poll showed Unions are enjoying their highest approval ratings in decades and polls have shown overwhelming support of Starbucks customers for the right to organize a Union.
Over the weekend, Starbucks Workers across the country hosted what was described as solidarity sip-in events where customers showed their support for the organizing Baristas.
Just a week earlier, at the end of August, Starbucks Workers employed at the Delaware Avenue and Chippewa Street Store in Downtown Buffalo walked off the job to protest the retaliatory firing of Anastasi.
Starbucks said it fired Allegra for time and attendance issues, citing times that Allegra was mere minutes late to work, said Union Officials, who added - however, that while Allegra worked at the company for eight years, management only began more strictly enforcing the rules after the Union Campaign began.
Firing a Worker for being late to work a handful of times of the course of eight years is not in-line with Starbucks policy, they said.
Starbucks has now fired more than 85 SBWorkersUnited Leaders across the country, in addition to closing down multiple Union stores.