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An entire Starbucks team walked out during their shift after the manager fired a colleague

Sam Amato, who worked with Starbucks for 13 years, believes he was let go for unionizing. His team staged a walkout.

An entire Starbucks team walked out during their shift after the manager fired a colleague
Image Source: Activists Demonstrate Against Starbucks' CEO Howard Schultz Anti Unionization Efforts Outside His NYC Apartment. NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 14. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

The employees of a Starbucks branch located in Buffalo, New York, walked out in the middle of their shift after their manager fired one of their colleagues, NT News reports. The workers believe that their fellow employee had been "unjustly" terminated. A video of the walkout was uploaded to TikTok, where it soon went viral. The employee who was fired is named Sam Amato. He was asked to leave during the week of his 13th anniversary with the company. According to Amato, he believes he was fired as he was a union leader. While the manager claims she fired him for other reasons, he strongly feels he was terminated for helping his team unionize.


In the clip uploaded to TikTok, a group of nine workers can be seen leaving the Starbucks storefront. After the employees stage their walkout, a woman who appears to be the store manager is recorded talking on the phone. The on-screen caption on the video reads, "*manager realizes she has messed up*." In a previous video uploaded to the social media platform, Amato states two store managers pulled him aside and told him he was being let go as he "modified operations and closed the lobby" without getting his "store manager’s permission." "It is a BS reason," he claims in the clip. "It is because I am a union leader. They failed to provide any details or give me any information. They wrote things that were not true. After 13 years they refused to give me any details [about] why I was fired."


TikTok users in the comments section of the videos praised the workers' efforts and expressed their support. One TikToker commented, "Starbucks really is hell-bent on ruining their reputation, are they not?" Another added, "Good on you guys. Stand together. Keep this energy going." Meanwhile, others shared that they would no longer be purchasing their drinks at Starbucks in solidarity with those who were fired. "Starbucks, I am a loyal customer," one user wrote. "But trust me when I tell you that can change real quick, friend!"


Since late last year, Starbucks employees across the United States have attempted to unionize with Workers United. As of mid-June this year, approximately 143 stores have unionized, whereas 120 other outposts were petitioning for union elections. As per the union, Starbucks has been systematically cutting employee hours in an effort to convince longtime employees to retire, before replacing them with workers who will not unionize. They said in a statement, "Starbucks is also using policies that have not previously been enforced, and policies that would not have resulted in termination, as a pretext for firing union leaders."


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