Top labor agency stands behind “Memphis 7″

Published: Apr. 11, 2022 at 10:24 PM CDT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Two months after seven Memphis Starbucks employees were fired after announcing their efforts to unionize, federal labor officials say they were fired illegally.

The National Labor Relations Board’s findings were first reported by Bloomberg.

Back in February, Starbucks told Action News 5 the seven employees were fired for violating safety and security policies.

The “Memphis 7″ told Action News 5 they’d never heard of the policies. They also said those policies were never enforced.

Their firings sparking local and national outrage.

Former supervisor at the Poplar and Highland location, Nikki Taylor, says they’ve been waiting for this announcement from the National Labor Relations Board for months.

“I’m still on cloud nine from it,” said Nikki Taylor. “It’s exciting to see that we’re believed, and they found merit to our charges.”

The National Labor Relations Board told Action News 5 in part, “The regional director found merit to the charge and will issue complaint if the parties don’t settle.”

“I know when Nikki called us to tell us the news,” said LaKota McGlawn. “I was I was overjoyed in the moment, but it almost didn’t seem real.”

Since losing their jobs, some of the seven say they’ve been traveling and sharing their story with other stores looking to unionize.

“I was sent over to Seattle, and we were sent over to Austin to talk to more partners and baristas there to coach them through this and to prepare them for what’s ahead of them,” said Beto Sanchez. “And I think it’s been something that’s helping me get through this before I get reinstated.”

They also say they’ve been overwhelmed by the national support. They’re hoping to be reinstated after seeing major companies like Amazon and Starbucks stores in different states win their union elections.

“If you were thinking about unionizing, or you’re in the process of unionizing,” said Kylie Throckmorton. “Just go through the battle, and keep fighting the battle, stay strong and stay united because at the end of the day, you are fighting for what you deserve in the workplace.”

A Starbucks official would not comment on the record; only saying the company will have the “opportunity to argue its position.”

If there is no settlement between Starbucks and the “Memphis 7″, both sides will go to court.

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