Labor disputes have been cropping up across the country — and here in Middle Tennessee. The latest comes from Nashville’s popular coffee chain, Barista Parlor.
A couple dozen picketers showed up Thursday morning at the Golden Sound location in support of Xochitl Cruz Lopez. She says she worked at Barista Parlor for seven years before she was fired this spring. She claims she was let go after upper management found out she was coordinating with coworkers for better wages and working conditions.
“So I decided to take it upon myself to start organizing with other people from the other shops, come together, go to management,” she says. “But when they found out, they did not like that.”
Barista Parlor says her organizing had nothing to do with her dismissal. The company released a statement saying that its employment decisions are based solely on conduct and performance.
Cruz Lopez says she has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board. According to the NLRB website, “You can’t be fired, disciplined, demoted, or penalized in any way” for engaging in labor organizing activities.”
This disagreement comes as other coffee workers in the region have voted to join unions, including some Knoxville and Memphis Starbucks workers. In less than a week, workers at Three Brothers Coffee in Nashville will enter negotiations with their higher ups.