Starbucks could soon face legal consequences for the termination of seven employees from Memphis, Tennessee who were in the process of unionizing their store. This is a major win for workers who are unionizing.
On Tuesday, the National Labor Relations Board – NLRB filed an injunctionFederal court against the company, arguing that it must face penalties for firing employees, nicknamed the Memphis Seven by the union. in retaliationTheir union activity. Nearly the entire organizing committee of the store was made up of five workers who were terminated.
The petition, filed by the NLRB’s New Orleans Regional Director Kathleen McKinney, says that prior to being fired, the workers faced a variety of unlawful anti-union actions from the company, including coercion, surveillance and unequal treatment of known pro-union employees. The company had already disciplined the employee who started the union campaign at the store, and taken steps to stop customers from supporting the union campaign.
McKinney asked the court to order Starbucks to reinstate the workers and immediately cease other unfair labor practices that it’s carrying out in the store.
“Given Starbucks’ egregious conduct interfering with the federally protected rights of its employees, we are asking the Court to swiftly grant the injunction,” McKinney said. “Without immediate interim relief from this Court, Starbucks could irreparably harm the campaign in Memphis, and send a chilling message to its employees across the country that they too will suffer the same fate as the terminated Memphis employees if they dare to exercise their right to engage in protected activities.”
The Memphis Seven were One of the firstEmployees that the company fired as part of its union busting campaign. At the time, in February, the union called the move the “most blatant act of union-busting yet,” and said that the company was frivolously citing supposed internal policies in their reasons for firing the employees. The company has continued to operate as normal. has firedMany more pro-union employees.
Employers cannot retaliate against employees who organize a union. This is against the law, according to the NLRB It has been foundStarbucks has done dozens of timesin its anti union campaign that spansAll over the country. Starbucks has denied the labor board’s allegationsThe firings went beyond legal limits.
This is the second injunction filed by the labor board against Starbucks. The NLRB filed this injunction last month. petitionedTo have three fired Phoenix pro-union workers reinstated and their internal records extinguished. If the judge grants the injunction, the company must also have a senior executive read the court orders in front of employees, with a member or labor board official present.
14 Senate Democrats and progressives filed the latest injunction on the same day. sent a letterHoward Schultz asked for an immediate halt to union-busting efforts by Howard Schultz and to recognize stores that have filed to vote in union elections. Over 2,000 workers have filed union elections so far. 250 union petitionsJoin Starbucks Workers United. successfully unionized over 60 stores so far.
The lawmakers, led in part by Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, asked Schultz to start pursuing a nationwide plan that would allow Starbucks workers union representation. “[W]e are deeply troubled by reports that, on the heels of the stock buyback announcement, Starbucks has taken steps to undermine nation-wide, worker-led union campaigns,” the letter reads. Senators Bernie Sanders (I) and Elizabeth Warren(D-Massachusetts) signed the letter, among others.
“[B]y offering to increase benefits for your workers, Starbucks is doing what the union campaigns have said all along: Starbucks can and should provide better working conditions and benefits for its workers,” the letter writers continue, referring to A recent announcement that the company is only raising wages for stores that aren’t unionizing or already unionized. “It is unfortunate that Starbucks has chosen to do this now seemingly to interfere with the union campaigns, since such action would constitute impermissible interference in a union organizing drive.”