Starbucks Continues Retaliatory Firing... Gets Caught by Leaked Audio
Updated On: Mar 02, 2022

Last week we spoke to 2 of the seven Starbucks workers who were fired in retaliation for their union support. Members of the media came into the store before it had closed, requested an interview, and the workers spoke to them. 


Starbucks says they were fired for violating safety and security policies, namely workers being in the store off the clock and having unauthorized persons in the building after close despite the fact that store policy also says you are not even allowed to tell a customer you are closed until ten minutes after! We played a clip from a former Starbucks manager who testified to the fact that the policies cited by Starbucks as their official rationale for the firings were routinely broken and that if they were consistently enforced this harshly they would not have any staff.


Well, Starbucks has not stopped their retaliatory behavior. 


Last week, Cassie Fleischer, a Starbucks worker in Buffalo, announced she had not been scheduled nor allowed to pick up shifts after she took a new job and requested a reduction in hours to 15 per week - that she had been fired. She says got a new job due to management at Starbucks cutting her hours during the holiday season, despite the fact that they were so busy. She says that the policy has always been that you can be a worker at Starbucks as long as you are willing to work 12 hours per week, but now they have implemented a policy mandating 20 hours. 


Starbucks said that she had not been fired, despite the fact that she was not scheduled to work for two weeks, and disputed that Starbucks cut her hours recently, leading to her getting a second job.


But just yesterday More Perfect Union released leaked audio from Cassie’s firing where her manager said she would be “termed out” - Starbucks speak for fired - and “you’re not coming back.” The manager also acknowledged in the audio that Fleischer’s situation was triggered by a cutback in hours available to her! 


Starbucks has said that they work with their employees and try to accommodate schedules but this is not guaranteed, every store is different and has different needs and blah blah blah.


This is clearly retaliation. If Starbucks wanted to make it work - they could. I worked at a restaurant for years having an availability of 1 day per week for the majority of the year while I had classes, and then worked 50-60 hour weeks during the summer. 


They are right about one thing though - that generally speaking, nothing is guaranteed. Even the things the boss says are guaranteed! Because they can change the terms of employment at any time, for any reason, or no reason at all! That is why it is so important for every worker to be in a union. 


I did say generally though, because unfortunately for Starbucks, under US law, you can’t implement a rule specifically to dissuade workers from unionizing, so Starbucks Workers United has filed a ULP. 


In response to a seperate ULP filed on behalf of the Memphis 7, Starbucks said they looked forward to being vindicated, but it’s worth noting that Starbucks does not have a good track record when it comes to ULPs - in July of 2021 the NLRB ruled in the case of two retaliatory firings of Philadelphia baristas in 2019 that the company engaged in illegal activity and must offer reinstatement and making them whole. 


Fortunately for Starbucks though, our system is broken and it took two years to get that decision and “making them whole” only means backpay minus whatever wages they earned in the interim. 


Starbucks workers are not deterred though - yesterday the third Starbucks union in the country won their election by a landslide 25-3.

Listen to the full discussion:

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