Starbucks Is In Even More Hot Water After An Entire Store Walked Out

Although over 200 Starbucks stores have voted to unionize since December 2021, the path to better conditions for the coffee chain's workers has not been an easy one. Workers have had to deal with understaffing, verbal and physical abuse, and apparently, the health benefits that Starbucks loves to tout are not as great as CEO Howard Schultz lets on (via Twitter). Instead of the coffee giant listening to its workers and trying to come to a compromise, the company has allegedly engaged in union-busting efforts across the country. According to The Guardian, as of 2020, over 75 employees linked to unions have been fired and hundreds of misconduct allegations have been filed.

One worker who has been associated with union efforts is a Starbucks employee of 13 years, Sam Amato. Amato used his personal email to communicate union efforts with management, and he believes he was punished for it, among other efforts to make his store a better place to work (via Today). "The first week of July, I filed a big ethics complaint within Starbucks about how (a manager) was violating policy and committing some unfair labor practices," Amato told Today. He then led the store on a strike the following day, and he cites his union activities as the reason why he was ultimately terminated, but Starbucks has a different story.

Employees at an Ithaca Starbucks believe Sam Amato was fired for being a union leader

As Starbucks Workers United shared on TikTok, employees at a Starbucks in Ithaca, New York all walked out after their co-worker Sam Amato was fired. Amato and his coworkers believe he was fired because of his ties to the union, but Starbucks cites different reasons. A Starbucks representative told Today that Amato was fired for "store policy violations, particularly for failing to adhere to Starbucks closing policies," and claimed that he had already been given a "Final Written Warning."

As Amato explained on TikTok, to his knowledge there are no records of this warning or any of the other performance reviews that the company referenced in the written termination. He further explained that the company did not give a valid reason to fire him, and he believes he deserves that after 13 years with the company. As for the employees that walked out with them, they are on an "indefinite strike" until Starbucks reinstates Amato, and Today reports that the store has remained closed as of yesterday (August 11). "If I genuinely felt that they showed remorse and that I would be a valued partner of theirs, I would go back. But it would take a lot," Amato told Today.