Media Contact: Anna Rose, 802-377-9379 or firstname.lastname@example.org
National Labor Relations Board Sides with Augie's Workers; Workers Press Forward with Co-op, Demands for Accountability
After a nearly 6 month investigation, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued a formal complaint that Augie’s Coffee illegally terminated over 50 employees in retaliation for union organizing on July 4th, 2020. Immediately following the board ruling, the owners of Augies announced that their business would be permanently closing this month — a move many community members and former workers are worried is an attempt to avoid accountability for their illegal actions.
“If the Amento’s think they can just quietly close this chapter, after illegally firing me and all of my coworkers at the height of a global pandemic, they are sorely mistaken” said former Augie’s barista Kelley Bader. “Our community has made it very clear that they will not forget what the Amentos did to us, and we will all be closely watching the Labor Board process and continuing to demand justice.” Former Augie’s customers and community members in Redlands and Riverside have vocally supported the ex-Augie’s workers for months — protesting after the terminations were announced, circulating petitions, and now rallying behind the former Augie’s baristas on Kickstarter as they fundraise to start Slow Bloom Coffee Co-op, a worker-run cooperative.
The labor board finding of complaint comes after dozens of requests for dialogue from workers and community members were ignored by the Amentos. Augie’s owners instead seemed intent on intimidating workers from participating in the board process, even going so far as to file bogus criminal charges against a worker who provided testimony. “On one hand it’s encouraging to know that our persistence in the face of intimidation and harassment was not in vain,” said former Augie’s barista Ryan Bermuda. “On the other hand, we can’t pay our bills with a labor board complaint. We’re staying really focused on starting our co-op so we can replace the jobs that our former bosses illegally fired us from.”
“While it's frustrating that it has taken over five months to get this far, it's encouraging to see the NLRB holding the Amentos accountable. We can’t let bosses continue to ignore the rights of their workers,” said former Augie's barista Sean McLeod. “The silver lining of this situation is founding this cooperative with my fellow workers. When all is said and done I think we’ll be much better off on our own than we were before we were illegally fired from Augies.” Slow Bloom has recently expanded from online sales to include coffee and cold brew deliveries in Redlands and Riverside and continues fundraising through Kickstarter.
Interviews with former Augie’s baristas can be arranged by calling Anna Rose at 802-377-9379. Photos available upon request.
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