Raymond Ortiz, Cosi

Raymond Ortiz; 25, of Brownsville, Brooklyn.

I worked at Cosi, which is at 490 7th Ave., Midtown, for a year and three months. I started out as a regular barista. Oct. 31, 2017. During the beginning stages, I really didn’t know what the law was. I would come in in the morning and stay all night. Open the shop at 6 a.m. and work till closing (leave home at 4:30 a.m. to get to work on time and end at 9 p.m.).

One time at work I was so tired because I’d work until 9 the night before and got home about 11 and woke at 4:30 to be at work at 6 a.m. A co-worker told me I looked to so tired and said that I’d been “clopening.” I didn’t know what that meant, that I’d been closing the store then opening it up the next day. I didn’t know that. I spoke to them about that, about the premium pay.

Throughout my whole year and three months, I’ve been through seven managers. Each manager was fired for lack of sales.

Around February, a manager promoted me to lead barista. He was a fired. A new manager came in. His name was Mike. That manager was obnoxious. He would verbally abuse me. Threaten that I was a part of a union and tell me to go to Starbucks. He would cut my hours. I was working about 40 hours a week and he cut me down to 17 hours a week.

The reason for doing that is that he was bringing his family members in and they were getting those hours. He had four relatives working there that we didn’t know about until one them told us she is his sister. Then, he was fired and a new manager came in.

Having new managers all the time was frustrating because you have to prove yourself all over again each time a new manager came in in order to keep the position that you’re in.

Dan, a new manager, promoted me to shift leader and I regained my hours back to 40 hours a week and, sometimes, I even got overtime. But, then, he got fired and another manager came in and she was fired to be replaced by another manager who cut my hours down to 17 again.

Then, on December 7, 2018, a few people from corporate came and they spoke to us individually. They told us that was the last day and that the store was getting shut down immediately. We asked why they didn’t give us notice. They said they themselves did not know.

They gave us our pay from two weeks before but not for the two weeks that we had worked before the closing. They also did not pay us for our sick days.

They wanted me to sign termination papers, which I refused to sign. Why would I terminate myself? It’s crazy.

I am struggling. I lost my job right before Christmas so it was a very sad holiday season. It’s very hard to find a job now because people are reducing staff, not hiring.