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Beset by Allegations of Union-Busting and Surveillance, The Original Boba Guys Shutters

Written by Christina CampodonicoPublished Dec. 14, 2022 • 3:00pm
Boba Guys employees considered unionization after work hours were cut. | Carlos Avila Gonzalez/The SF Chronicle via Getty Images

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A chapter of the Boba Guys saga has come to a close. The SF-born bubble tea chain has permanently shuttered its original Mission District location, as The San Francisco Chronicle reported today.   

Co-founders Andrew Chau and Bin Chen announced the closure in an email to employees last month and told workers that Boba Guys’ Newport Beach location would also close.

“Know that neither of these decisions was made without many hours of deliberation and review of the impact this has on our team and community,” Chau and Chen wrote. However, the co-founders of the Bay Area-born beverage brand did not cite a reason for shuttering the Mission or Newport locations.  

Boba Guys began in the Mission more than a decade ago and eventually expanded to about two dozen locations in the Bay Area, Southern California and New York. The closure of the original location comes after the popular grab-and-go milk tea company temporarily closed its Mission cafe in October amid allegations of union-busting and backlash from employees over reduced work hours. 

“How am I supposed to pay my bills with a wage of $16.99, and we only work 5 and a half hours per week?” Ashley Osorio Paredes, a Boba Guys employee told The Standard at the time.

In a statement to The Chronicle around that time, Chau and Chen wrote that they respected the rights of employees to collectively organize and bargain. However, the two faced further allegations that they surreptitiously recorded their employees (and customers) at the Mission location, a potential violation of California law.

The Standard reached out to Chau and Chen for comment on the closure.

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Christina Campodonico can be reached at [email protected]


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