Starbucks faces complaint from NLRB over fired Augusta worker

The National Labor Relations Board recently filed a complaint on behalf of fired Augusta Starbucks employee Jaysin Saxton, ordering a judge to reinstate the barista, with back pay.

Saxton lost his job in August after previously leading a union initiative at the cafe’s Robert C. Daniel Parkway location.

The NLRB complaint alleges that Saxton was fired for participating in union activities and that the firing was to discourage other employees from engaging in those activities, which is illegal. The complaint also alleges that Starbucks failed to negotiate with the union over Saxton’s dismissal, “failed and refused to engage in collective bargaining and in good faith.”

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With the lawsuit, Saxton can now have an NLRB attorney represent him before an administrative judge, a union representative said. The complaint asks that the judge order the company to issue an official reminder to all employees about their union rights, reinstate Saxton and pay him back-payments. Starbucks has until December 22 to respond.

Workers United, the union representing workers at the Augusta site and other Starbucks workers across the country, took note of the NLRB’s action in a press release issued Thursday. Neither Saxton nor Starbucks could be immediately reached for comment.

“Jayson Saxton has just been fired on an absolutely ridiculous fabricated charge of leading a march on the boss,” said Camden Mitchell, union representative for the Southern Regional Joint Board of Workers United.

In April, the Starbucks where Saxton worked voted to unionize, becoming the first in Georgia to do so. Saxton led the organization and endeavored to share a list of demands with managers in July. He then took part in another strike when managers refused to heed workers’ demands.

The NLRB filed a complaint on Dec. 8, meaning the case can be sent to a hearing before an administrative judge, according to Harris Raynor, assistant regional director of Workers United.

The NLRB also filed a complaint in response to an allegation by Workers United regarding a Starbucks location in Atlanta where management allegedly held one-on-one meetings about workers’ union activities.

“We’re really excited that the federal government is moving this forward,” Mitchell said of the two complaints.

The NLRB has not yet responded to charges brought on behalf of another union organizer, Laethon Bumgardner, who Mitchell said was fired from the Augusta deal.

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