Starbucks fired a longtime union organizer two days after billionaire former CEO Howard Schultz was grilled in a Senate committee hearing over the company’s illegal union-busting campaign.
Lexi Rizzo led the campaign at a Starbucks in Buffalo, one of the first to hold a successful union referendum, starting a movement that spread across the country and included thousands of Starbucks workers.
Starbucks told the store that Rizzo was booked for being late to work on multiple occasions. The union, Starbucks Workers United, called Rizzo’s firing “retaliation at its worst.” Two other pro-union employees were also fired, the union said.
“I’ve given every ounce that I have to this organization,” Rizzo said in an emotional video posted on TikTok, adding, “My heart is broken.”
Rizzo took aim at Schultz when he appeared before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (AID) Committee last Wednesday.
“You’re a heartless monster, I don’t know how you sleep at night,” he said of Schultz, “you give hundreds of thousands of people everything they have so you can make another dollar. And then you treat us like dirt.
Democratic senators confronted Schultz last week over eight rulings by National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) administrative judges that Starbucks had committed 130 labor law violations since the union campaign began in Buffalo in December 2021. Schultz denied the company broke the law.
Last month, an NLRB administrative judge found that Starbucks committed “extremely widespread” violations of labor law when it fired six pro-union workers in Buffalo and Rochester. The company was ordered to hire and compensate the workers.
“Starbucks has waged the most aggressive and illegal union-busting campaign in our nation’s modern history,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) opened the hearing. “That union busting campaign was led by Howard Schultz.”