By Jordan Zakarin
Starbucks fired another outspoken union leader in the Buffalo, NY market on Friday, continuing a purge of key members of Starbucks Workers United leadership.
Angel Krempa, a shift supervisor at the recently unionized French and Transit store in Depew, NY, worked for Starbucks for more than two years and had never received a formal reprimand until identifying herself as a union supporter.
In December, she was disciplined for the first time for wearing multiple union pins on her apron — despite receiving prior permission from her store manager to wear other pins that were unrelated to the Starbucks Workers United campaign.
In subsequent months, she received a series of escalating warnings and corrective action forms issued by managers over seemingly random issues.
She was fired on Friday after trouble with her car engine forced her to be late to work on two occasions. In each instance, she alerted the store’s management of her likely tardiness; the only facts in dispute are over how she communicated the issue with managers.
On March 7th, she was 17 minutes late for a 5:30 am opening shift. On the 21st, she was 20 minutes late for a 3:30 pm shift. The terms of separation notice the company gave her acknowledges that Krempa texted the store’s group chat to inform her coworkers and manager. Where their stories diverge is whether Krempa followed Starbucks protocol and called the store, as well.
Starbucks claims that she failed to call her supervisors, but phone logs provided by Krempa show otherwise.
Records also show that Krempa adjusted her time on the clock in the Starbucks internal scheduling system to reflect her tardiness.
“They didn’t say anything to me about [being late] either time,” Krempa tells More Perfect Union. “So this just came out of the blue. I was working a normal shift and I saw my district manager come in. Because of her, I have panic attacks every time I go into work, so I started having a panic attack and the next thing was that I was being pulled to the side.”
In March, Krempa was disciplined for having three nose piercings. Starbucks’ code of conduct allows for one facial piercing, but Krempa says that she’d received permission to wear her three piercings from a manager during her initial training session more two years ago.
“I took my mask down to take a sip of water in the back room, and my store manager was like, ‘can you take those out?’ I said no, and then I was sent home later that day for insubordination,” she says.
Krempa has already filed an unfair labor practices charge against Starbucks, adding to an ever-growing tower of formal complaints submitted by the union to the National Labor Relations Board. She is just the latest union leader to be ousted by Starbucks in what is an unprecedented and illegal union-busting scheme being carried out across the country.
In February, the company forced out Cassie Fleischer, a worker at the Elmwood location in Buffalo that won its union election in December, with draconian hour cuts and schedule changes. Soon after that, Starbucks fired Danny Rojas, another Buffalo union leader.
On Monday, Starbucks fired Phoenix union leader Laila Dalton on trumped up charges after months of harassment that earned Starbucks a formal complaint filed against Starbucks by the NLRB itself. That complaint also accused Starbucks of wrongly forcing another pro-union worker out of the company and reneging on small accommodations for an autistic employee and placing them on a leave of absence.
A investigation in March by More Perfect Union found at least 63 different allegations made by employees of Starbucks which contend the company has engaged in illegal activity against them, including illegal firings, wage abuse, and harassment.
These unfair labor practice charges span across the entire country – from Buffalo to Seattle and everywhere in between: Phoenix, Memphis, Austin, Denver, Peoria, Knoxville, Kansas City, Jacksonville, Santa Cruz, and more.