starbucks employee explains how he got fired over suicide prevention pin tiktok

haireena/Shutterstock @sbworkersunited/TikTok (Licensed)

‘They weren’t becoming of the brand’: Starbucks worker says he was fired for wearing a suicide awareness pin

‘Well I don’t think that’s very becoming of Starbucks.’


Braden Bjella

Internet Culture

A former Starbucks worker and union organizer has gone viral after alleging he was fired for wearing a suicide awareness pin on his apron.

In a video with over 2.3 million views, @sbworkersunited shares an interview with Will Westlake, who shows the pin and explains the story of his firing.

“We had a partner die at our store, died by suicide, and we got these pins to kind of remember her,” he details. “Very early on, the company said that they weren’t going to be allowed, that they weren’t ‘becoming’ of the brand of Starbucks, and I refused to take it off, and today they fired me.”

@sbworkersunited This is not okay @starbucks ♬ original sound – SBWorkersUnited

A Starbucks spokesperson confirmed the details of the story to Bloomberg while denying that the true reason for Westlake’s firing was his involvement in union organizing.

“A Starbucks spokesperson said Tuesday that operations at Westlake’s store were disrupted when he was repeatedly sent home for refusing to remove his pin,” writes Josh Eidelson. “The spokesperson said Starbucks does not retaliate against employees for lawful union activity.”

But, according to Westlake and commenters under the TikTok video, it is fairly common for Starbucks employees to wear various pins on their uniforms. To Westlake’s knowledge, no other employees have faced the same consequences as him.

“I, for a long time, worked at Starbucks, and any pins that we wanted to wear were accepted,” he says.

Commenters agreed.

“I’ve seen people wearing these and other pins all the time,” one user wrote.

“People are always wearing pins at my Starbucks,” another agreed. “They’re just extremely anti union, greedy, and were looking for any reason possible to fire this guy.”

Starbucks has been repeatedly called out for its alleged union-busting tactics.

In April of this year, a user went viral on Twitter after revealing what they described as an anti-union training video.

The company has also been repeatedly asked to rehire workers it allegedly fired for engaging in union activity.

Some users claim incidents like these have put them off going to the store entirely.

As one user wrote, “this is gonna make me stop going.”

The Daily Dot reached out to Starbucks via email and to Westlake via Twitter message.

The Daily Dot