Starbucks Union Files Charge Over Anthony Price Firing
Workers United NY NJ, the union that Starbucks workers in several Long Island stores voted to join in 2022, has filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board over the firing of Anthony Price, a former employee at a Westbury store.
The union claimed in the complaint that Price had been fired in retaliation for participating in several union protests. Price was hired as a barista after the initial vote in 2022, and got involved with the union shortly thereafter.
“They don’t treat their employees properly,” Price told the Press. “The way they set it up makes it hard to run shop effectively. They don’t give you enough hours or schedule enough people to work. So it makes the customers mad because they don’t get their drinks in like a good amount of time, and it makes us upset with people yelling at us. It creates a stressful environment that doesn’t have to be there.”
Price had been at the forefront of several union protests, including one on Starbucks’s Red Cup Day on Nov. 16. He was fired a month later. Price said the official reason given was due to an argument between himself and a shift supervisor – but both he and the union see it differently.
“We believe that Anthony was terminated in retaliation for his leadership in the union,” Clara Wheatley-Schaller, political director for Workers United, said. “In October, Anthony led a march on the boss and in November he went on strike with his coworkers as part of a national strike day and was the primary chant leader in the strike. We have also noticed a pattern of Starbucks firing workers of color who are union leaders on Long Island.”
Wheatley-Schaller added that Price had been recently commended as a model employee, a fact that Price confirmed.
“My manager had offered me a promotion and said, ‘You’re one of the best people I have here,’” Price said.
In December, faith leaders as well as Nassau County Legislator Siela Bynoe led a march on the Westbury Starbucks demanding Price’s reinstatement – but that hasn’t happened yet. Price said he hopes to return because he enjoyed working with his colleagues.
The charge names a store manager and a district manager as responsible for the alleged retaliation against Price.
“We fully respect our partners rights to participate in lawful union activities but involvement in a union does not exempt partners from established lawful company policies such as the direction not to use profanity toward customers or their fellow partners while working in the store,” Starbucks spokesperson Rachel Wall told the Press. “Starbucks is fully committed to the rights of our partners to organize, freely associate and collectively bargain, and we operate in compliance with all applicable labor laws. We recognize the right of partners to engage in lawful union activities without retaliation. Starbucks also provides training to all U.S. leaders on compliance with national labor laws and provides local supervisors assistance to address compliance issues as they arise. That training instructs local supervisors to apply our policies in a consistent manner regardless of union representation.”