Starbucks in Memphis Latest to Unionize

A Starbucks store in Memphis is the latest to unionize, joining more than 130 stores across the country.

Workers at the Poplar and Highland location voted 11-3 in favor of unionization after a high-profile battle wherein seven employees were fired during the attempt to unionize.

Those employees, who were fired in February, reportedly took part in the Tuesday vote. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in February filed a lawsuit seeking to have them reinstated as employees.

Starbucks claimed at the time of the firings that the employees had broken security protocols.

“We could’ve found other jobs. This is important to us; we know it’s bigger than us,” Nabretta Hardin, one of the seven fired workers, reportedly said. “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.”

The trend of unionization among Starbucks stores has exploded.

In April, a Starbucks store in Knoxville became the first in the state to unionize.

The national effort for stores to unionize is led by a coalition called Starbucks Workers United.

“Starbucks is the leader in the coffee industry, and one of the most successful companies in the world,” that group’s website says. “We want to share in that success, and we want to have a voice in determining what that looks like for us. We think there is a disconnect between corporate and us. The company says that partners come first, but all too often puts large shareholders above all else.”

Starbucks has not officially commented on the unionization efforts among its employees, but last December, at the beginning of the wave of unionizations, Starbucks’ North American executive vice president wrote an open letter to employees.

“We want every partner to love working at Starbucks,” Rossann Williams said. “We will keep finding new and better ways to continue leading on wages and benefits, improve our listening and active partnership, and keep building a company that matters. Because we are partners.”

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Pete D’Abrosca is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Starbucks Barista” by HAO XING. CC BY 2.0.



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2 Thoughts to “Starbucks in Memphis Latest to Unionize”

  1. Chris

    I haven’t had a cup of Starbucks coffee in years.

    This certainly won’t affect me.

  2. 83ragtop50

    Just another reason – as if ridiculous prices were not enough – to avoid that place.