Protesters line the drive-thru lane to show their support for Laila Dalton. Starbucks says it “enforces policies consistently” for all employees.
PHOENIX — Two dozen chanting protesters greeted customers in the drive-thru line Tuesday at a Starbucks in North Scottsdale.
The demonstrators chanted “Reinstate Laila”.
Union organizer Laila Dalton is fighting to get her job back, after being fired on Monday. A union vote at the store was due to begin Tuesday and last two weeks.
“I want Starbucks to stop its union-busting cruelty and stop hurting young adults,” said Dalton, a 19-year-old who started working at the coffee giant when she was 17.
“All this time I’ve been treated so unfairly and I should have a voice,” Dalton said in an interview.
She vowed to return to her job. “I know I will be reinstated.
RELATED: Arizona Starbucks workers vote to unionize
She will lose Starbucks funding for ASU
The layoff will cost Dalton more than her job: Starbucks is paying for her college education online at Arizona State University, where she is majoring in mass media and communications.
“Not immediately, but he will be retired for my next semester,” Dalton said.
Starbucks falsely accused her of illegally recording a conversation between two people, according to Dalton. Arizona is a so-called “single-party” consent state where only one party to an appeal must consent to a recording.
She said she was recording a conversation with a manager.
“Only, I have to consent to it, as long as I participate in the recording,” Dalton said. “Five minutes before that they gave me a final written warning about something totally different. It premiered on March 18. But I only got it yesterday. So they really intended to fire me for a while.”
“Apply policies consistently”
A Starbucks spokesperson issued this statement on Dalton’s dismissal:
“A partner’s interest in a union does not exempt it from the standards we have always maintained. We will continue to apply our policies consistently for all partners.”
Starbucks workers are part of a small but growing national push to revive unions.
Employees at 10 Starbucks stores — including one in Mesa — voted to join the Workers United union.
Retail colossus Amazon now has its first syndicate in a New York warehouse.
Workers’ demands: better wages, benefits and working conditions.
RELATED: Union vote at Mesa Starbucks delayed, workers frustrated
The NLRB ruled against Starbucks
Starbucks has already lost a round in its battle with Dalton.
Last month, the National Labor Relations Board said Dalton had been unlawfully punished by Starbucks for raising concerns about labor issues at her store. The next step is a hearing in June before an administrative law judge.
The Starbucks spokesperson replied, “We are committed to following the NLRB process. Any allegations of union busting are categorically false.”
The same day Dalton was fired, Starbucks Acting General Manager Howard Schultz warned a town hall of employees of “the threat of unionization.”
“We can’t ignore what’s happening in the country with respect to businesses across the country being assaulted, in many ways, by the threat of unionization,” Schultz said, according to a clip posted by More. Perfect Union.
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