Media that empowers working people – that's how we build a More Perfect Union.

Don't Miss a Video!

Access our exclusive reporting and rapid response actions directly in your inbox, so you don’t miss a beat in the fight for working people nationwide.

Be a part of a community backing up independent journalism with action.

Ideas

Have a story to tell or idea to share?
Email [email protected]
© 2021 More Perfect Union Action

Together we can build power for working people.

We’re asking questions that really matter, and telling the stories of people who really need to be seen and heard.

You can support our work by donating today.

Amount

Make It Monthly

Don't Miss a Video!

Access our exclusive reporting and rapid response actions directly in your inbox, so you don’t miss a beat in the fight for working people nationwide.

Be a part of a community backing up independent journalism with action.

Leaked Audio Of Firing Shows Starbucks Lied About Union Leader

Starbucks tried to discredit fired barista Cassie Fleischer in a letter to thousands of employees. A new recording undercuts the company's claims.

By Jordan Zakarin

Starbucks sent an extraordinary note to employees nationwide on Thursday, urging them not to believe a former co-worker, Cassie Fleischer, who said she’d been fired last week after she helped organize the company’s first U.S. union.

What Starbucks didn’t know was that Fleischer had recorded her own firing. The audio, obtained by More Perfect Union, backs up Fleisher’s public claims about what happened and shows that what Starbucks management told its workers is false.

Fleischer worked at Starbucks for nearly five years, and at the Elmwood location in Buffalo, NY, since July 2020. She helped Elmwood become the first unionized location in company history and sits on the union’s bargaining committee.

Last Friday, Fleischer shared on Facebook that she’d been let go. “Little did I know, yesterday was my last shift at Starbucks. I am no longer being scheduled nor am I allowed to pick up any shifts, and as of today I am effectively terminated from the company.”

Days later, Starbucks tried to discredit Fleisher in a letter to thousands of employees sent by the company’s U.S. operations chief Denise Nelsen. “Earlier this week, a Buffalo partner claimed she was fired – she was not,” the note read. Nelsen claimed that 13 employees at the store had simultaneously asked to work fewer hours, which “made it hard on the manager,” but that local leaders were continuing to “have conversations” with Fleischer and the other employees.

But a recording of Fleischer’s conversation with her manager completely undercuts the company’s version of events.

In the recording, Fleischer’s manager tells her repeatedly that she’s being “termed out” — terminated — as a Starbucks employee and will have to reapply for a job if she wants to work for the company in the future.

“What happens going forward?” Fleischer asks. Her manager tells her she’s been fully removed from the schedule and ”termed out” effective in three weeks. “I should be terming it as of today really,” she added. “You’re not coming back.”

Starbucks had long accommodated workers’ schedule shifts and the realities of part-time work. More Perfect Union reported last week that the policy appears to have suddenly shifted in the Buffalo locations. The manager’s explanation seems to confirm that changes have been very recently made. She also acknowledges that Fleischer’s situation was triggered by a cutback in hours made available to her.

“I’m cutting back on the hours because it’s still too slow to house all the hours that we were previously,” the manager told Fleischer. “And I should’ve done it sooner than later so I was behind the 8-ball a little bit myself. There’s your shift and a couple other people that really, with the hours, I don’t have quite the availability.” She reiterates later, “I can’t even give you all those hours to begin with that you want.”

Listen to the audio recording of Fleischer’s firing:

Fleischer had typically worked between 37 and 39 hours per week until the run-up to the union election. Management then flooded the store with new hires in a union-busting attempt and cut her hours to between 29 and 31 per week. The loss of pay forced her to search for a second job, and in early February, she informed her manager that she’d obtained one. She asked to reduce her hours to 15 per week, while offering to provide extra availability when necessary.

On February 8th, her manager informed Fleischer that her request was being denied because it “didn’t meet the needs of business” and that she would have to either consider taking a leave of absence or “pursuing termination.” 

In their final conversation last Friday, Fleischer reiterated that she was happy to pick up additional shifts and to work longer on weekends, but the manager said she didn’t want to give people 8-hour shifts on weekends because she’d be required to give them more break time — namely a 30-minute lunch and one or two 10-minute breaks over the course of the 8-hour shift.

I want to “make them the five-and-a-half-hour shifts, where we’re not running all those crazy breaks all the time,” the manager said.

Related Stories

Starbucks Attempting To Force Out Union Leaders At Buffalo Stores
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Here’s How Starbucks’ Latest Union-Busting Attempt Backfired
Read More

The Latest

YouTube Thumbnail
As Uber’s Profit Margins Grow, Workers Make Less and Less
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Starbucks Tried to Crush Its Baristas. What Happened Next Will Shock You
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
The Shadow Group Working To Keep Wages Low
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
The Stat That Explains Why Politics Is So Broken
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Corporations Are Privatizing Tap Water. You’re Paying the Price.
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
The IRS Created a Free Tax Filing System. TurboTax is Reeling.
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
This is the South’s Next Worker Uprising
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Baltimore Port Workers Are Reeling. Will Anyone Listen?
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
We Found The Happiest Workers In America
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
What Billionaires Don’t Want You To Know About AI
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Who Is Bankrolling RFK Jr.’s Campaign?
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
The Man Corporate America Is Most Afraid Of
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
What Dollar General Doesn’t Want You To Know
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
“I’m A Doctor: Corporate Greed Is Killing Your ER”
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
What Happened to Boeing?
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Chicago’s Radical Solution to End Homelessness
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
In This Town, Only The Rich Get Water
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
The Evil Company Buying Subway (And The Rest Of Your Favorite Chains)
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Ban Airbnb? This Town Found a Solution to the Housing Crisis
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
I Work For the King of Beers. I’m Paid Like a Peasant
Read More