SF Boba Guys closes original location after controversy

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Popular milk tea chain Boba Guys has closed its original store in San Francisco’s Mission District for good, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. operated independently).

Co-founders Andrew Chau and Bing Chen temporarily closed the store on the 19th, while Valencia Street temporarily reopened in October after a group of employees refused to work following some controversy. According to the Chronicle, the problem began when employees were informed that working hours would be reduced due to the store’s financial difficulties.

The day after the meeting, employee Madeline Urso shared information about unemployment and unionization on company Slack. The next day, she was fired for sexual harassment due to inappropriate remarks she made after a meeting, according to her dismissal notice.

However, SFGATE reported that the owner of Boba Guys was recording audio at the store at the time and only learned of Urson’s comments. The employee told SFGATE he had not been informed that the conversation was being recorded. Recording private conversations without the consent of both parties is illegal in California.

One of the protest signs temporarily posted at the Mission's Boba Guys on Tuesday, October 18, 2022.

One of the protest signs temporarily posted at the Mission’s Boba Guys on Tuesday, October 18, 2022.

Courtesy of Madeline Urso

Anger followed Urso’s firing, with some employees claiming it was in fact retaliation for Urso’s mention of unionizing at Slack. Posted signs that read “Higher level retaliates against Boba employees” and “Union Busters”.

Now, co-founders Chau and Chen have confirmed to Chronicle that the 19th Street and Newport Beach stores will be permanently closed, but did not give a reason. They noted that an employee at this location was offered a transfer to a nearby Boba Guys store, which said he did not respond to SFGATE’s request for comment in time for publication. did.


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