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Starbucks must rehire employees who tried to unionize, judge rules

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Posted at 7:42 AM, Aug 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-19 14:20:14-04

The National Labor Relations Board won an injunction against Starbucks as a judge ruled that the company must rehire seven former employees.

Starbucks fired the employees after the workers attempted to form a union.

The National Labor Relations Board accused Starbucks of attempting to thwart unionizing efforts at its stores.

"Today's federal court decision ordering Starbucks to reinstate the seven unlawfully fired Starbucks workers in Memphis is a crucial step in ensuring that these workers, and all Starbucks workers, can freely exercise their right to join together to improve their working conditions and form a union," said NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo. "Starbucks, and other employers, should take note that the NLRB will continue to vigorously protect workers' right to organize without interference from their employer."

The National Labor Relations Board accused Starbucks of directing "a wide variety of coercive measures at its employees, including: disciplining the employee responsible for starting the campaign; more closely supervising its employees; closing the area of the store on days organizers had previously invited the public and customers to come to show support for the campaign; and removing all pro-union materials from the community bulletin board inside the store, including notes authored by customers expressing support for the employees and their campaign."

In a statement to NPR, Starbucks said it plans to fight the ruling.

"We strongly disagree with the judge's ruling in this case," the company said. "These individuals violated numerous policies and failed to maintain a secure work environment and safety standards. Interest in a union does not exempt partners from following policies that are in place to protect partners, our customers and the communities we serve."

The Starbucks Workers United union has grown to include 200 stores with 16,000 members.