Joselyn Chuquillanqui says she was fired from a Starbucks in...

Joselyn Chuquillanqui says she was fired from a Starbucks in Great Neck in retaliation for her union organizing activities. Credit: Danielle Silverman

A worker who helped organize a failed unionization effort at a Starbucks in Great Neck has been fired.

Joselyn Chuquillanqui, 28, a former shift supervisor at the store at 6 Great Neck Rd., said she was terminated Wednesday over tardiness complaints she says were excessive and an excuse for management to fire her.

Officials with Seattle-based Starbucks and the Great Neck store manager did not respond to requests for comment.

“It was due to the union organization efforts,” said Chuquillanqui, an Elmont resident who’s worked as a Starbucks barista for seven years at different locations on Long Island. “They started targeting me sometime in April. Then in June. And this week, I’m fired.”

Chuquillanqui said she had been reprimanded several times since April due to showing up late to open the store, while other shift supervisors were not disciplined equally for instances of tardiness.

Management said in a termination letter dated July 27 and shared with Newsday that Chuquillanqui had been terminated “for failure to adhere to time and attendance policies by consistently arriving late to her scheduled shifts.”

Chuquillanqui said on one occasion she was reprimanded for being 3 minutes late to her 5:30 a.m. call time.  

“I have never seen anyone be fired for being under five minutes late,” she said.

In February, 15 employees at the coffee shop – led in part by Chuquillanqui – petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to hold a vote on whether to join the Workers United New York New Jersey Regional Board, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union.

In May, workers voted 6-5 against the union, a result that Workers United has challenged with the NLRB, alleging management engaged in unfair labor practices.

The union plans to file an unfair labor practice complaint over Chuquillanqui’s termination, a Workers United spokeswoman said Thursday.

Starbucks workers at stores in Massapequa, Westbury, and most recently Farmingville have unionized this year. The local labor push is part of a larger initiative across the country. 

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