New York Times: Federal Judge Reduces Scope of Injunction Preventing Starbucks from Firing Organizing Workers

Starbucks Workers Union Commits $1M to Strike and Defense Fund

A federal judge in Michigan withdrew an order blocking Starbucks from firing any U.S. worker because they engaged in collective action and issued a new injunction that reduced the scope of the ruling from a national scale to a single Ann Arbor, Mich. location. Judge Mark A. Goldsmith cited unspecified “errors” in the original injunction in his revised opinion.

Goldsmith noted that while the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) had filed 24 complaints involving approximately 50 workers across the U.S., most of these cases were still in their early stages. This meant that only the complaint involving the Ann Arbor store, where a judge has already found that a worker had been illegally fired, had enough evidence to support the injunction.

The original injunction would have empowered the NLRB to work to expedite the reinstatement of workers fired at any corporate-owned Starbucks store in the country, legal experts told The New York Times. Under the new ruling, those measures will only apply to one store.

“We are pleased that the court rejected the National Labor Relations Board’s overreaching and inappropriate request for a nationwide cease-and-desist order as we pursue a full legal review of the merits of the case,” a Starbucks spokesperson said in a statement seen by The New York Times.


The NLRB also has become involved in complaints against other retailers where some workers are unionizing:

  • In February 2023, a judge with the NLRB ruled that Amazon illegally threatened to withhold raises and benefits from workers at two New York City warehouses if they voted to form a union, though he chose not to rule on the NLRB general counsel’s effort to use the case to ban mandatory anti-union meetings and dismissed other charges; and
  • In October 2022, the NLRB issued a complaint regarding alleged unfair labor practice charges against Apple,for interrogating and surveilling staff and restricting placement of union fliers at a New York City store that sought a union election.

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