Brett Wilkins Common Dreams Worker's Rights

Anti-Labor Starbucks ‘Getting Wrecked’ as Memphis Workers Win Latest Union Drive

"The blowout victory comes four months after Starbucks illegally fired seven pro-union workers," noted More Perfect Union. "A historic victory."
Members of the “Memphis Seven” and supporters pose for a photo outside the Poplar and Highland Starbucks on May 24, 2022. (Photo: @StormCarter23/Twitter)

By Brett Wilkins / Common Dreams

Seven workers at a Memphis, Tennessee Starbucks who were fired earlier this year after starting a unionization campaign declared victory Tuesday after employees at the store overwhelmingly voted in favor of forming a union.

Amid a nationwide tsunami of Starbucks worker organizing, employees at the company’s store at the intersection of Poplar Avenue and Highland Street voted 11-3 to unionize, according to More Perfect Union.

“The Memphis Seven have been vindicated,” the outlet tweeted following the vote. “The blowout victory comes four months after Starbucks illegally fired seven pro-union workers. A historic victory.”

The seven former employees were fired in February after they launched the unionization effort. Starbucks claims they were terminated for violating company policies, but the ex-workers say the move was in retaliation for their labor organizing.

Due to a pending National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) case, the seven former workers were able to vote in Tuesday’s election, after which they held a press conference.

“This is important to us; we know it’s bigger than us,” Nabretta Hardin told reporters. “I just really want to congratulate the workers at our store. Those workers down there, they are awesome. They didn’t have to do this for us. They didn’t have to do this for themselves. They could’ve left. I’m so filled with joy and so excited we are a unionized store.”

Matt Breunig, founder of the crowdfunded think tank Peope’s Policy Project, tweeted Tuesday that “Starbucks is getting wrecked.”

According to the NLRB, more than 100 Starbucks stores have voted to unionize and over 270 union petitions have been filed by company workers in 34 states.

On Tuesday, workers at the Stuyvesant Plaza Starbucks in Albany, New York voted 15-0 to form a union. Employees at four Ann Arbor, Michigan Starbucks also unionized on Tuesday, as did two Seattle locations and a store in Lawrence, Kansas.

Starbucks workers seeking to organize have been met with union-busting and other retaliatory tactics by the multibillion-dollar corporation.

The NLRB has filed numerous complaints against Starbucks, including one last month that accuses the global coffee giant of more than 200 federal labor law violations.

Brett Wilkins

Brett Wilkins is a staff writer for Common Dreams.