The Starbucks union has logged its first win in court: A U.S. District court judge has ordered Starbucks to reinstate seven previously fired workers in Memphis, Tenn. who were fired earlier this year during an attempt to unionize the store.
The workers – nicknamed the “Memphis Seven” — were originally fired in February for violating safety and security policies, but the workers vehemently disagreed with the decision, saying they were fired for policies that had never been enforced or mentioned before, and SBWorkers United said it was an example of union-busting. Following the incident , SBWorkers United filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, who in turn ruled that the Memphis employees were “unlawfully terminated.” Six months after the initial incident, it has now been settled in federal court.
“We are ecstatic and so happy about the ruling,” Nikki Taylor, one of the Memphis Seven said in a video posted on Twitter. “We knew from day one we were going to win this. We are so happy and excited to be back and thank everyone who has supported us so far.”
Starbucks has five days to reinstate the workers and is required to post the court order in the Memphis store, though the company said that they plan to challenge the decision.
“We strongly disagree with the judge’s ruling in this case,” Starbucks said in a statement. “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.”
Starbucks will be appealing the decision and requesting a stay of the order pending appeal and consideration by an appeals court.
“We will respect the unionizing process and will bargain in good faith guided by our principles,” Starbucks continued. “Our decisions will continue to remain grounded in our policies.”
Since the first store voted yes in September, 220 Starbucks stores have elected to unionize, with more union election votes being counted nearly every day.
“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,” the NLRB’s General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo said in a statement said to the Associated Press. “Starbucks, and other employers, should take note that the NLRB will continue to vigorously protect workers’ right to organize without interference from their employer.”
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