Supreme Court Sides with Starbucks in Unionization Case
Workspan Daily
June 14, 2024

The Supreme Court on Thursday, June 13, tossed out a lower court ruling and sided with Starbucks in a labor dispute case involving seven employees who were fired after they tried to unionize one of the coffee chain’s stores in Memphis. 

The high court decision may make it more difficult for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to take action and temporarily halt what it views as unfair or illegal labor practices, including firing or suspending workers involved in union-organizing efforts. 

The case began in February 2022, following Starbucks’ dismissal of workers involved in the Memphis store’s unionization campaign. The NLRB obtained a court order forcing the company to rehire the workers, known as the “Memphis 7,” and a district court judge agreed with the NLRB. After the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that ruling, Starbucks appealed to the Supreme Court. 

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the majority opinion on behalf of eight justices, while Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson partially dissented. Thomas argued the standard sought by the NLRB would weigh the balance too heavily in the favor of the government in conflicts involving an employer.

Samsung Electronics Workers Stage First Strike

As reported by CNN, a labor union at Samsung Electronics in South Korea said a portion of its workers went on strike June 7, marking the first such walkout in the smartphone and chipmaking giant’s 55-year history.  

The Nationwide Samsung Electronics Union (NSEU) announced earlier this month that its 28,000 members — just under a quarter of the company’s total workforce in the country — would stage a one-day strike, following failed negotiations over pay and bonus arrangements.  

A Samsung spokesperson told CNN, “There is no impact on production and management activities” as a result of the one-day walkout. 

Walmart Launches Associate Bonuses, New Job Training Programs

Walmart recently announced it will offer new training programs and certifications to fill high-demand roles across its business, such as HVAC technicians, opticians and software engineers.  

The retail giant also announced a new bonus program for eligible full- and part-time hourly store associates. The longer an hourly store associate stays with the company, the higher their bonus potential, up to $1,000 a year. 

In January 2023, Walmart raised its minimum wage. CNBC reported the company’s average hourly wage is nearly $18, up by about 30% over the past five years. The starting pay in stores ranges from $14 to $19, depending on the location. 

Citi Increases Paid Parental Leave Up to 24 Weeks

Citi has increased the amount of leave it offers new parents based in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, effective immediately, according to a Banking Dive report. 

The bank now offers 16 weeks of paid leave to all new parents, plus up to an additional eight weeks of paid recovery time for birth mothers. Citi previously had offered 16 weeks of paid leave for “birthing” parents and eight weeks for “non-birthing” parents. 

Citi is also offering two weeks of paid leave annually for employees to care for an immediate family member “with a serious health condition and not capable of self-care.” The bank had previously offered unpaid caregiver leave

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