Effort to reinstate fired Augusta Starbucks worker trying to unionize to go before judge

FILE - Starbucks union organizer Jaysin Saxton poses for a photo after the votes are tallied on Thursday, April 28, 2022. He recently was fired from his job in Augusta.
FILE - Starbucks union organizer Jaysin Saxton poses for a photo after the votes are tallied on Thursday, April 28, 2022. He recently was fired from his job in Augusta.

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

Saxton lost his job in August after earlier leading an effort to unionize at the coffee shop's location on Robert C. Daniel Parkway.

The NLRB complaint alleges that Saxton was dismissed because he participated in union activities, and that the dismissal was to discourage other employees from engaging in those activities, which is illegal. The complaint also charges that Starbucks, by failing to negotiate with the union over dismissing Saxton, is "failing and refusing to bargain collectively and in good faith."

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With the complaint, Saxton can now be represented by an NLRB attorney before an administrative law judge, said a union representative. The complaint asks that the judge order an official reminder from the company to all employees of their union rights, rehire Saxton and compensate him with backpay. Starbucks has until Dec. 22 to respond.

Workers United, the union that represents employees at the Augusta location and other Starbucks workers throughout the country, noted the NLRB's action in a news release issued Thursday. Neither Saxton nor Starbucks could immediately be reached for comment.

"Jayson Saxton was just fired on an absolutely ridiculous, trumped up charge because he led a march on the boss," said Camden Mitchell, union representative from 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 lead the organizing and an effort to share a list of demands with managers in July. He then took part in a subsequent strike when managers refused to consider workers' demands.

The NLRB issued a complaint on Dec. 8, meaning the case can move forward to a hearing in front of an administrative law judge, according to Harris Raynor, assistant regional director for Workers United.

The NLRB also issued a complaint in response to a Workers United charge regarding a Starbucks location in Atlanta where management allegedly held one-on-one meetings about worker's union activities.

"We're really excited the federal government is moving on this," Mitchell said of the two complaints.

The NLRB has not yet acted on a charge brought on behalf of another union organizer, Laethon Bumgardner, who was fired from the Augusta store, according to Mitchell.

This article originally appeared on Augusta Chronicle: Starbucks faces complaint from NLRB over fired Augusta worker