Nashville, Tennessee (WSMV) — Nashville’s popular Barista Parlor coffee company is facing a federal complaint about unfair labor practices after a former employee claimed she was fired for considering forming a union.
Xochitl Cruz Lopez said she worked at the company’s Golden Sound location for seven years, where she was promoted from chef to barista to manager, before being fired in April.
Barista Parlor said she was a rebel, but Cruz-Lopez said she believed it was because she had recently started talking to other employees about pushing for better working conditions.
“We never felt like we were getting enough compensation for the work we do, so it all started with everyone else in the company feeling the same way and hearing that everyone else wanted a change,” Cruz-Lopez said. “That’s when I got to everyone, and it all started.”
Dozens of former employees and labor rights activists gathered outside the store on Thursday to protest what happened to Cruz Lopez. The protest was led by Workers’ Dignity and Music City, ROC, to press for change in the company.
In addition to her complaint to the National Labor Relations Board, Cruz Lopez asks Barista Parlor to take her signature drink off the menu, stop intimidating regulating employees and pay all employees a living wage.
“In our demands, we wanted everyone’s base salary to be $15 an hour,” Cruz-Lopez said. “I am so grateful and grateful to have such a community and support behind me. I can’t express it, frankly, but I am very happy.”
“Obviously we are very angry and crazy because this is the right of workers to actually organize to improve working conditions with their co-workers,” said Cecilia Prado, Executive Director of Workers’ Dignity. “It is very important to know that as workers, we deserve not to live in poverty. If we work 40 hours a week, we don’t deserve to live in poverty.”
Barista Parlor declined the opportunity to give an interview and instead issued the following statement to WSMV 4:
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