Starbucks Allegedly Fires Employee Of 26 Years Due To Union Involvement

On September 7, union leader Logan Matthews — who's been employed with the international coffee chain since 1997 — was fired from his position for allegedly not placing money into the store's safe at the end of his shift (via press release). Mind you, this was just two days after the store Matthews worked at formally filed to unionize.

However, according to the same press release from Starbucks Workers United, union reps believe there's something more nefarious behind the timing, largely because the incident reportedly happened back in July. Per the release, Matthews has a proven record of closing the store in accordance with Starbucks' guidelines, and the company itself has not supplied any evidence to back up the claims behind his firing. 

"I am shocked that a company that I dedicated 26 years of my life to would fire me in this way simply because I decided to stick up for myself and for my co-workers," Matthews said in the press release. "Starbucks made a huge mistake by firing me, and they're going to be held accountable."

Starbucks Workers United revealed Matthews' intent to file an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), presumably alleging his firing was in retaliation for his union organizing activity. As of September 4, 2023, the NLRB has docketed 633 unfair labor practices charges against the coffee giant, per The Guardian, with 73 complaints still pending before Administrative Law Judges.

Starbucks employees fight for better working conditions

Since 2021, at least 355 U.S. Starbucks locations have voted to unionize in an effort to get higher wages, better working conditions, and fair staffing. Starbucks Union Workers live-streamed from an empty bargaining table on Twitch back in August in an attempt to move the needle on stalled negotiations. They've also hosted a variety of "sip-in" protests across the country, which Starbucks recently responded to

Speaking of responses, Starbucks made the following statement to Food Republic regarding Matthews' firing: "Our policies and procedures exist to create an equitable environment for all partners and customers. Following an initial review of the matter, it became apparent that local leadership did not follow our established internal investigation process prior to separating Logan Matthews from our Tara Blvd. and Jonesboro Rd. store. As a result, Logan has been reinstated with applicable backpay and the local leader involved has been placed on leave pending the outcome of a thorough investigation. We thank Logan for his many contributions throughout his tenure at Starbucks and apologize for this failure to adhere to established processes."