Borges noted a photo posted to Twitter showing the employees giving the interview after hours and said the front door was also left unlocked at the store.
“Our safety and security policies are in place to protect partners and to protect our customers and the communities we serve,” he said. “These egregious actions and blatant violations cannot be ignored.”
But Starbucks Workers United, the group helping Starbucks stores unionize, says the company is “union busting” and retaliating against local leaders in the unionization efforts. A union spokesperson told The Post that Starbucks fired five out of the six union committee leaders and two other workers who are also pro-union.
“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,” Starbucks Workers United spokesperson Casey Moore said in a statement.
Kylie Throckmorton, one of the fired employees, told The Post that Starbucks had “messed up big time” and vowed to fight back against the company’s decision.
“We’re going to make sure Starbucks can’t do this to another store,” Throckmorton said.
Borges disputed the accusation that company rules were selectively enforced, saying the Memphis workers were trained on store security and alerted that violating the policy could result in dismissal.
Starbucks Workers United filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board on Tuesday night, accusing the company of illegally firing the Memphis workers. The NLRB found last year that Starbucks had unlawfully retaliated against two baristas in 2019 and 2020 who sought to unionize a Philadelphia store — unlawfully spying on protected conversations and firing them. The company is challenging the ruling.
While Starbucks Workers United said it is confident that the fired workers in Memphis “will be reinstated with back pay,” Borges said it should be a “pretty slim” chance the staffers would be rehired if they decided to apply for a job at Starbucks.
The firings come months after Starbucks workers in Buffalo became the first unionized location among the coffee giant’s 9,000 corporate-owned stores in the United States. Since then, labor organizers say more than 50 other stores nationwide are pursuing union elections.
Throckmorton said the idea to unionize the store where she worked, near the University of Memphis, came shortly after what unfolded in western New York. In her almost two years there, Throckmorton said workers regularly operated in what she described as “hazardous conditions,” with fridges leaking water and causing employees to slip and fall. She alleged that the company did not address employee concerns. Borges said the…