Former Starbucks employee Anthony Price, of Uniondale, speaks at the Long...

Former Starbucks employee Anthony Price, of Uniondale, speaks at the Long Island Jobs With Justice event Thursday night in Amityville. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

County officials, religious leaders, academics and labor representatives came out in support of Long Island’s unionized Starbucks workers Thursday night, gathering to hear testimony from employees about their treatment working for the Seattle-based coffee giant.

The meeting, a Workers’ Rights Board hearing organized in Amityville by the Island’s Jobs With Justice group — the local arm of a national pro-labor organization — featured half a dozen current and former union employees.

The board  does not have legal authority, but will use the workers' testimony  to create a report regarding Starbucks’ response to organizing workers over the last two years.

Anthony Price, 23, a Uniondale resident and union organizer who had worked as a barista at the Westbury location for nearly two years, said he was abruptly fired in early December following a verbal argument with a supervisor.

Price said both he and the supervisor filed complaints with the company, and roughly a month later, he was fired. The union has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board over his termination.

“I was a model employee,” said Price, who hopes he can be reinstated. “I had never been written up before.”  

Starbucks contends that Price was fired for using inappropriate language in the argument in front of customers.

Brendan Lopez, 23, of Medford, said he was fired from the Farmingville location in late June over what he called trumped-up charges so management could terminate him over his union organizing.

Starbucks spokesman Andrew Trull said Lopez was not terminated over union activity.

Lopez said he is scheduled for an NLRB hearing on April 2.

Other workers cited chronic understaffing, the loss of reliable schedules and lack of access to credit card tips from customers.

Starbucks said that, following current labor law, the credit card tip benefit only went to non-union stores or stores that unionized after May 4, when the benefit was added.

“Of the18 certified union represented Starbucks stores in the New York City metro area, partners at seven union-represented stores have access to tips on credit and debit card transactions — based on when partners in those stores chose to petition for union representation,” Trull said in a statement to Newsday. Workers at all stores have access to cash tips, Trull added.

Starting in late 2021, nearly 400 of Starbucks’ 9,000 corporate-owned shops, including locations in Farmingville, Westbury, Lynbrook, Massapequa and Wantagh, have voted to unionize, according to More Perfect Union, a labor organizing non-profit.

To date, Starbucks has not finalized a contract with any of the union shops.

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