Supreme Court agrees to hear appeal from Starbucks in union case

 January 14, 2024

Last week saw the Supreme Court agree to hear what ABC News describes as "among the most closely" cases relating to organized labor. 

The nation's highest judicial body announced this past Friday that it will review an appeal from Starbucks regarding a National Labor Relations Board (NLBR) decision.

Company accused of trying to stop workers from organizing

At issue is the company's decision to fire seven of its employees in Memphis, Tennessee over an incident two years ago.

The company contends that the employees were terminated after they permitted a television crew and others who were not employed by Starbucks to enter a store after business hours.

While the employer contends that such actions violated safety policy, the NLBR accused Starbucks of attempting to illegally prevent workers from organizing.

It asked for an injunction ordering that the workers be reinstated, a request which according to Bloomberg Law was granted in August of 2022 by U.S. District Judge Sheryl Lipman.

Bloomberg Law further reported that Lipman's injunction was subsequently upheld by the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Starbuck "pleased" that Supreme Court will hear case

In its appeal, Starbuck maintains that in deciding to issue and uphold the injunction, Lipman and the Sixth Circuit used a more relaxed standard than the one employed by other federal courts.

ABC News noted that Starbucks put out a statement on Friday that welcomed the Supreme Court's willingness to hear its case.

"We are pleased the Supreme Court has decided to consider our request to level the playing field for all U.S. employers by ensuring that a single standard is applied as federal district courts determine whether to grant injunctions pursued by the National Labor Relations Board," the company was quoted as saying.

The Starbucks store in question ultimately unionized under Workers United, and it released a statement of its own slamming both Starbucks and the Supreme Court.

Union accuses Supreme Court of doing "the bidding of the billionaire class"

"Starbuck is seeking a bailout for its illegal union busting from Trump's Supreme Court," the labor organization declared.

"There’s no doubt that Starbucks broke federal law by firing workers in Memphis for joining together in a union. The district court determined that, and the decision was affirmed by one of the most conservative courts in the nation," Workers United continued.

It went on to complain that "the world's biggest coffee company is now using a technicality to align itself with and do the bidding of the billionaire class."

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