‘Intense culture of fear’: Starbucks reportedly fires workers involved in union efforts

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As per the workers’ group Starbucks Workers United, more than 85 workers at Starbucks have been fired over the past several months, The Guardian reported. What’s alarming is that the report mentioned that these workers were heavily involved in union organising efforts at the giant coffee chain. 

Multiple unfair labour practice charges have been filed, the report mentioned. It also says that seven workers in Memphis and Tennessee were reinstated after a federal judge recently ordered. Reportedly, those workers were fired in February. 

US media reported that those seven workers were fired following an in-store media interview about the store’s organising. Starbucks Workers United claimed that this was all in retaliation for the union drive. 

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On the contrary, Starbucks said the incident violated company policy. 

NPR report published on August 18 stated US District Judge Sheryl Lipman said that Starbucks failed to prove that it enforced similar company policies elsewhere and in similar situations. 

The Guardian quoted a worker who worked at Starbucks in Augusta, Georgia. Jaysin Saxton, who was fired on August 16, described the treatment. 

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As quoted by the report, Saxton said that workers received intense scrutiny and disciplinary measures after a new manager was brought into the store a couple of months ago. 

“That’s when everything went downhill. They started writing people up a lot, ranging from documented coachings and final written warnings so workers couldn’t transfer or be promoted,” said Saxton as quoted by the report. 

“They surveil us. It’s insane. They just created this intense culture of fear in the store and are trying to push us all out. I expressed to my district manager that I was being treated as the stereotypical angry black man,” said Saxton over how he was treated by managers for trying to address issues and grievances workers were experiencing in the store,” he added. 

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