Supreme Court to hear dispute over Starbucks firing pro-union workers

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a challenge by Starbucks to a judicial decision that required the coffee chain to rehire seven employees at one of its cafes in Memphis, Tennessee, who a federal agency determined were fired for supporting unionization.

The justices took up a Starbucks appeal of a lower court’s ruling that found that the company likely discouraged other employees from exercising their rights under U.S. labor law by firing the Memphis workers in 2022. This is the first case to reach the Supreme Court involving an ongoing nationwide campaign to unionize Starbucks stores.

The Memphis store is one of more than 370 Starbucks locations in the United States to unionize since 2021. The Seattle-based company was non-union for decades.

The U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) concluded that Starbucks unlawfully fired the Memphis employees for supporting the union drive and to send a message to other workers.