Starbucks fires pro-union employee

Some Starbucks employees have been trying to become members of a labor union. However, not all locations are having the same success, as some of them are experiencing consequences from corporate employees.

Alexis Rizzo, an advocate for unionization, was fired recently. It was cited that she was having attendance and lateness issues. However, it has been revealed that the true reason for Rizzo losing her job might have to do with her advocacy goals, according to CNN.

Rizzo had worked at her Starbucks store for seven years and was a shift supervisor. The store she worked at was one of the few that actually unionized, and she played a large role in its success. 

Rizzo denied the claims that she was consistently late and had poor attendance. Contrasting this statement, a Starbucks spokesperson affirmed that one of Rizzo’s late arrivals resulted in the store opening one hour late.

Sen. Bernie Sanders gave his opinion about the situation and defended Rizzo, saying, “Instead of negotiating a first union contract as requested by law, Starbucks has chosen to double down on its illegal union-busting by firing Alexis Rizzo.”

Labor unions advocate for common interests such as better benefits. Photo courtesy of Elliot Stoller, Flickr

Labor unions work to improve wages and working conditions for workers. They promote transparency and help facilitate productive communication between employees and their employers. 

Starbucks shouldn’t be allowed to stop the unionization of their company without checking to see if their employees agree with them. If they choose to solve their problem by firing workers, they will end up with fewer employees and the company’s profits could suffer. The most important thing to a company is their money. If the company loses said money, it can lead to a failure in having enough resources.

Not to mention, in my opinion the firing of Rizzo counts as union-busting, which is illegal in the United States. Starbucks Workers United stated that “this is a retaliation at its worst” in regard to the situation.

Despite the union busting activity, I do not think Starbucks treats its employees very poorly. An article published by The Washington Post stated that Starbucks offers many benefits to their workers, such as a high salary per hour, access to health care plans and many others. 

Reggie Borges, communications director for global communication at the company, argues that Starbucks does not believe in unions, but they respect the rights of their partners to organize them. Due to this argument and the benefits offered by the company, Starbucks wants to get rid of employees that believe in unions.

In my opinion, workers who fight for unionization shouldn’t lose their jobs because of their beliefs. Each person has the right to have their own opinions and ideas. They shouldn’t suffer harsh consequences just because they have a different opinion than the people who pay them. 

Think about this the same way you think about a group of friends — nobody will ever have the same opinion. There is always going to be at least one person that thinks differently, and that is a good thing. You can always learn from the perspectives of others, and it may even spark a good change in the way things work.

Featured photo courtesy of Steve Garfield, Flickr