Portland News

NLRB Working to Reinstate Buffalo Starbucks Employees After Their Recent Dismissal

NLRB in the works to reinstate seven Starbucks employees in Buffalo, New York
NLRB in the works to reinstate seven Starbucks employees in Buffalo, New York

Starbucks has been going through changes as many of its cafes’ employees have banded together to form unions, creating friction between the workers and company.

The recent dismissal of seven workers in Buffalo, New York for union organizing prompted the National Labor Relations Board to ask a court to reinstate those employees.

The workers claim that their manager was targeting them, and other employees of Starbucks for organizing a union

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Angel Krampa, one of the seven women who founded a much needed union organization to improve their working conditions, revealed that she was fired after a series of attacks by management once they knew about her involvement.

When Angel started working at the cafe, she had multiple nose piercings and a suicide prevention pin that the manager had no issues with. But when a new manager took over in January of this year, they told her that those things weren’t allowed for employees to wear while on duty.

Angel disclosed that she was being targeted for discipline because of her piercings and pins. She also shared how they gave her a hard time about missing work due to car problems, but Angel maintains that she called her manager about her situation.

The union organizer is confident that the judge will share her sentiments. She believes the company’s actions were motivated by advocacy for a labor organization.

“I don’t think that we’re going to lose either of these next two trials,” said Angel, referring to their workers’ filing for reinstatement and a hearing regarding Starbucks’ unfair labor practices.

When Angel and her co-workers voted to unionize on March 23, they were fired less than a month later.

Despite the claims, Starbucks has denied anti-union allegations.

“As we have said previously, we believe these claims are false and will be prepared to defend our case,” said Starbucks spokesperson Reggie Borges.

Starbucks has raised wages and promised improvements to diminish plans of unionization, but stores with active union efforts will be exempted from these commitments. 

The National Labor Relations Board claims that Starbuckshas been sending managers to discourage union activity and close stores with active drive-in campaigns.

If the judge rules in favor of the NLRB, then Starbucks would have to cease anti-union activity. The company must also recognize union representatives from now on; they can bargain over wages with this group.

The National Labor Board has found that there are multiple cases of discrimination in the state, including Memphis and Phoenix. Although this is an ongoing issue for both cities, the Phoenix claim was denied earlier in June.

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Opinions expressed by Portland News contributors are their own.