• The Washington Post reports that "Amazon suspended at least 50 workers on Tuesday who were involved in a work stoppage the previous evening at the company’s only unionized warehouse in the United States, union leaders said.
"Roughly 100 warehouse associates on the night shift at the Staten Island facility refused to work for several hours on Monday evening, shortly after a fire broke out in a trash compactor machine used on cardboard, according to Amazon Labor Union officials. Labor leaders said the warehouse smelled of smoke and that they couldn’t breathe. One worker went to the hospital, they said.
"Seth Goldstein, a labor attorney for Amazon Labor Union, called the suspensions of the Staten Island workers 'a violation of workers’ rights to join in a collective action about the terms and conditions of their employment.'
The Post writes that "Amazon confirmed that company managers had suspended workers with pay who engaged in the work stoppage on Monday, as they investigate the events that took place. Company spokesman Paul Flaningan said that while Amazon respects its workers’ rights to protest, it is not appropriate for employees to occupy active work spaces, break rooms or thoroughfares in its warehouses."
The story also notes that "the mass suspension took place less than 10 days before warehouse workers at a separate Amazon warehouse near Albany, New York, are slated to vote to become the second Amazon workforce to join Amazon Labor Union."
• From Bloomberg:
"A Starbucks Corp. barista says he was fired for wearing a mental-health awareness pin -- a move the company’s union claims is part of a purge of labor activists.
"The fired barista, Will Westlake, is also a prominent union organizer at one of the first three cafes around Buffalo, New York, that petitioned to form a union last year.
"Westlake said he and others at his store began wearing the pins after a co-worker died by suicide earlier this year. After management told them the pins violated the dress code, most removed them to avoid getting in trouble, he said.
"Westlake continued wearing his, and he said management sent him home dozens of times and issued him a 'final written warning' for refusing to remove it. In a termination notice issued Tuesday, Starbucks said it fired Westlake due to 'refusal to abide by the dress-code policy,' as well as attendance issues."
• Tasting Table reports that Starbucks has come to an agreement with the union representing some of its employees, SBWorkers United, which will have it purging from employee records union activities that previously have been noted. In addition, the story says, Starbucks agreed to "post a notice of the settlement in the employee break room at the location, for no less than 60 days," though there is no admission of "wrongdoing, liability, or violation of law."
"We're pleased" with the settlement terms, a Starbucks spokesperson said.