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Updated: NLRB Region 7-Detroit Wins Injunction Requiring Starbucks to Rehire Unlawfully Fired Worker, Post the Court’s Order, and Cease and Desist from Unlawful Activities at an Ann Arbor Store

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Note: A previous version of this press release stated that the Judge ordered a nationwide cease-and-desist order. However, the Judge vacated the February 17th decision and reissued it on February 23rd with the cease-and-desist order applying to the Ann Arbor store only.

On February 23, 2023, U.S. District Judge Mark A. Goldsmith of the District Court of Eastern Michigan issued an injunction requiring Starbucks to reinstate an unlawfully fired worker, post and read the Court’s Order, and cease and desist from unlawful activities at the Ann Arbor store where the unlawful activity occurred. 

“The District Court’s ruling confirms that Starbucks continues to violate the law in egregious ways, thus requiring an injunction. While disappointing, the Judge's revised order still provides critical protection for the workers at Starbucks’s Ann Arbor store whose statutory rights under the National Labor Relations Act have been violated,” said General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo. “We will continue to seek nationwide relief before circuit court judges, district court judges, administrative law judges, and the Board to remedy violations of federal labor law by Starbucks and other entities, as appropriate."

The injunction was issued based on a petition filed by Region 7-Detroit Regional Director Elizabeth K. Kerwin in November. Section 10(j) of the National Labor Relations Act authorizes the National Labor Relations Board to seek injunctions against employers and unions in federal district courts to stop unfair labor practices where, due to the passage of time, the normal Board processes are likely to be inadequate to effectively remedy the alleged violations.  

The petition explained that Starbucks unlawfully discharged its employee, who was at the time the lead organizer for the union and engaged in protected activities, to discourage its employees from engaging in these activities.  

“I’m proud of the Region’s employees for their hard work on this case,” said Region 7-Detroit Regional Director Elizabeth Kerwin. “Region 7’s staff is dedicated to effectuating the National Labor Relations Act—including ensuring workers’ ability to freely choose whether they want union representation.” 

Trial attorney Tony Smith of NLRB’s Region 7-Detroit represented the Agency’s position in the Section 10(j) proceedings before Judge Goldsmith.   

Established in 1935, the National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency that protects employees from unfair labor practices and protects the right of private sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve wages, benefits and working conditions. The NLRB conducts hundreds of workplace elections and investigates thousands of unfair labor practice charges each year.