Buffalo Starbucks worker who started union fired

  • Alexis Rizzo, who was a shift supervisor at Starbucks for seven years, was fired on Friday.
  • Rizzo sparked what became a national labor movement when she worked to organize two Starbucks stores in Buffalo, New York.
  • “This is beyond unacceptable. Ms. Rizzo must be reinstated,” tweeted Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Starbucks fired the worker who sparked a campaign at the coffee chain that led nearly 300 locations across the country to unionize.

Alexis Rizzo, the Buffalo-based Starbucks employee who started the Starbucks Workers United campaign, has been fired after seven years with the company, Starbucks Workers United tweeted Saturday. CNBC later confirmed.

Insider reached out to Starbucks for comment on Saturday, but did not immediately receive a response.

In an interview with CNBC, Rizzo said she was fired after her Friday shift and that managers cited four times that she was late for work. Rizzo said that two of those times she was a minute late.

A Starbucks spokesperson told CNBC that layoffs at the company only occur following clear violations of policy, adding that Rizzo’s presence impacts other employees at his store.

“We appreciate our partners at Genesee St. bringing the Starbucks experience to each other and our customers this morning, and that area stores continue to serve customers uninterrupted this weekend,” the door said. -spoken Rachel Wall in a statement.

Rizzo’s dismissal follows former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’s recent appearance before Congress, where he was questioned by senators about alleged widespread union busting.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont led the hearing, which questioned Schultz about the company’s treatment of employees at Buffalo stores, and asked specific questions about a recent ruling that Starbucks was illegally monitoring and firing employees. over there.

When news of Rizzo’s firing broke, Sanders demanded that Rizzo get his job back.

“Instead of negotiating a first union contract as required by law, Starbucks chose to double down on its illegal union busting efforts by firing Alexis Rizzo, a Buffalo union leader who worked for Starbucks for 7 years,” Sanders wrote on Twitter. . “This is more than unacceptable. Ms. Rizzo must be reinstated.”

Rizzo said work was an important part of his life. “I’m heartbroken. It wasn’t just a job for me. It was like my family,” Rizzo told CNBC. “It felt like I lost everything. I’ve been here since I was 17. It’s like my whole support system, and I think they knew that.”

Starbucks United Workers published a GoFundMe page for Rizzo Friday, netting nearly $7,000 for Rizzo in one day. On the page, Starbucks and its management are accused of retaliation following Schultz’s congressional hearing.

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