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Supreme Court rules in favor of Starbucks in union workers' case

The coffee company fired seven employees who organized a union in Memphis, Tennessee, in 2022

Fachada Starbucks

Fachada Starbucks

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The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) voted eight to one on Thursday against a lower court's decision that urged Starbucks to reinstate workers who were organizing a union.

This legal battle began when seven coffee company workers in Memphis, Tennessee, were fired while setting up a union. After the workers released a letter to company management and spoke to the media, Starbucks legally fired them.

The company alleged a violation of company policies for accessing employee areas when they were not on duty and for unlocking a door to allow unauthorized persons to enter the store.

Following these terminations, the Memphis courts held that the workers were fired illegally and that they should be reinstated to their jobs. The Supreme Court contradicted this opinion and stated that the lower courts did not treat the case with the correct procedures. Only SCOTUS Judge Kentaji Brown Jackson partially disagreed with the opinion of his peers.

Prior to the appeal courts' decision, it was the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that ruled on the reinstatement of the workers to their jobs. This agency assured that, since the workers were in the process of organizing a union, their dismissal was totally illegal, something that the lower courts approved.

After the SCOTUS resolution, Fox had access to a statement from Starbucks in which it claims to support its workers, whom it refers to as "partners."

"Starbucks believes that our partners are the core of our business, and we are committed to providing everyone who wears the green apron a bridge to a better future," the statement said. "We remain focused on moving toward our goal of achieving ratified contracts for represented stores this year. Consistent federal rules are important to ensure that employees know their rights and that consistent labor practices are maintained regardless of where they work and live in the country." the company added.

On behalf of the union, it condemns the Supreme Court's resolution and assures that its ruling makes the position and well-being of workers in the United States weaker. "Workers have very few tools to protect and defend themselves when their employers break the law. That makes today's Supreme Court ruling especially egregious. It highlights how the economy is rigged against workers all the way to the Supreme Court."