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Starbucks fires Memphis workers who tried to form a union

Starbucks fired seven workers at one of its Memphis locations who said they were trying to form a union. The Seattle-based coffee chain denies allegations that the workers were dismissed in retaliation for their unionization drive. The company said that the workers violated company safety and security policies by conducting media interviews on the store’s premises. A Starbucks spokesperson said photos that were posted to Twitter showed employees inside the store being interviewed by members of the press while the workers were not wearing masks. The interviews with local television station WMC-TV were also held after store hours, according to Starbucks. “That is a clear policy violation, not to mention the lack of masks,” company spokesperson Reggie Borges told The Washington Post. “Our safety and security policies are in place to protect partners and to protect our customers and the communities we serve,” he said. Starbucks Workers United, an organization that is helping employees of the coffee chain unionize, accused the company of “union busting.” Five of the Memphis employees who were fired are members of a union committee while the other two backed the unionization drive, according to SWU. “If Starbucks had consistently fired people for the violations they fired Memphis workers over, they would have a hard time keeping many people on staff at all,” SWU spokesperson Casey Moore said in a statement. You’re looking at the first @Starbucks employees in #Memphis trying to unionize. Hear their grievances, see the steps needed to form a union and find out who’s helping these workers tonight on @WMCActionNews5 at 10. pic.twitter.com/pBn73jn7ib— Joyce Peterson (@MemphoNewsLady) January 19, 2022 In December, Starbucks workers at a location in Buffalo voted to form a union — becoming the first among the 230,000 US employees who work in the 9,000 company-owned restaurants to organize. Workers at another Buffalo-area location voted to unionize last month. Since then, employees at scores of other stores across the country have launched organized labor drives.

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