The workers who were illegally terminated from Augie’s Coffee on July 4th, 2020 revealed today that their former employer attempted to use the police and baseless criminal charges to intimidate them from testifying in the ongoing National Labor Relations Board investigation into the firings.
“The day after the owners found out I was giving board testimony, they had the police contact me and accuse me of illegally accessing company information that in fact all warehouse workers had access to,” said Michael Gonzalez, a former warehouse worker at Augie’s Coffee. “When I offered to delete the information in question, the officer told me that unfortunately my former boss didn’t actually care about the company info and that my boss was going to press charges because of ‘what we were putting him through’ which we understood to mean the NLRB investigation.”
Filing retaliatory criminal charges against a worker with the intention of discouraging him from speaking up about labor practices is in itself an Unfair Labor Practice, prohibited under the National Labor Relations Act.
“This type of harassment and intimidation from an employer is incredibly rare and incredibly troubling,” said Mike Healey, one of the foremost labor lawyers in the country and the attorney representing Augie's workers in the NLRB process. “We’re filing these unfair labor practice charges to protect not just Michael’s rights, but the rights of all workers speaking up in an increasingly hostile political environment”.
“The Amento’s are harassing our coworker through police intimidation and unjust criminal charges, meanwhile they are being investigated for a number of serious offenses against their former employees - including over $140,000 in wage theft,” said former Augie’s worker Evan Costello. “The fact that they can use the legal system to harass their former employees like this, while we’re still waiting for our justice, is strikingly unfair. We’re here to show that we will protect our fellow workers in the meantime.”
These Unfair Labor Practice charges, the second set filed against Augie’s Coffee House, will now be investigated by the National Labor Relations Board. To arrange an interview, please contact Anna Rose at 802-377-9379. Photos and videos available upon request.