DEPEW, N.Y. (WIVB) — Tensions continue to grow between local Starbucks employees and the coffee corporation. Five shops in the Western New York area decided to unionize, and now union members say an employee was fired because of that choice.

The store making those claims against Starbucks is on Transit Road in Depew.

“They just won their union vote a few weeks ago, and after their union vote, they fired Angel Krempa, who was one of the leaders at the store,” said Casey Moore, a current Starbucks Barista.

Spokesman Reggie Borges said the union had nothing to do with the termination.

“A partner’s interest in a union does not exempt them from the standards that we’ve always held at Starbucks,” he said. “We’re going to hold our standards to that consistency for all partners.”

Angel Krempa also led the unionization efforts for the Depew locations. When she received her termination papers, she thought it was a joke.

“I was fired yesterday, and their reasons for firing me are that I was late two times. They said I didn’t use the proper forms of communication channels.”

Borges told News 4 the corporate policy states employees must call the store and inform them of late arrivals. He said Krempa did not follow those protocols, though she says she did.

“I have the time logs and the proof showing I did use — and went through the proper channels and everything like that,” said Krempa.

Borges said this wasn’t an isolated incident, and the Starbucks corporation raised concerns months before the store chose to unionize.

“Specifically to Angel, we have a track record here dating back prior to November, he said. “Really, she was at the point where she got a final written warning of behavior and attendance issues, and that behavior has not changed.”

Krempa is hopeful this boycott puts the situation into perspective for customers.

“My coworkers get paid, I think, $16 an hour as a barista,” she said. “That’s two drinks. For most of the time, that’s two drinks, and they don’t know we are making such a profitable turnover for this company, and we don’t see any of that.”

Abby Fridmann is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in November 2020. See more of her work here and follow her on Twitter.