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9 Feb 2022

Noam Scheiber, The New York Times

USA: Starbucks fires Memphis workers involved in unionization efforts; incl. co. comment

"Starbucks fires Memphis workers involved in unionization efforts," 8 Feb. 2022

Starbucks ... fired seven employees in Memphis who were seeking to unionize their store, one of several dozen nationwide where workers have filed for union elections since December [2021].

A Starbucks spokesman said the employees had violated company safety and security policies. The union seeking to organize the store accused Starbucks of retaliating against the workers for their labor activities.

... Reggie Borges, a company spokesman, said in an email that Starbucks fired the workers after an investigation revealed violations. He cited a photograph on Twitter showing that store employees had allowed media representatives inside the store to conduct interviews, in which some of the employees were unmasked and which he said had taken place after hours. “That is a clear policy violation, not to mention the lack of masks,” Mr. Borges wrote.

... Starbucks Workers United, the union that represents workers at two stores in Buffalo and that is helping to unionize Starbucks workers across the country, filed unfair labor practice charges over the firings and said in a statement that “Starbucks chose to selectively enforce policies that have not previously been consistently enforced as a pretext to fire union leaders.”

... the spokesman, wrote: “We absolutely fire partners who let unauthorized people or partners in the store after hours and/or violate policies like letting others handle cash in the safe when not authorized to do so. This is a common, understood policy by partners as it brings an element of safety and security risk that crosses a number of lines.”