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Fired Ann Arbor Starbucks union organizer returns to work after court case

Walkout on the Ann Arbor Starbucks on Main Street.
Hannah Whitbeck
Walkout on the Ann Arbor Starbucks on Main Street.

An Ann Arbor-based Starbucks worker has returned to work. This is after a U.S. District judge ruled that she was illegally fired for union organizing.

Hannah Whitbeck said it was a little weird to be back after being gone for more than a year. She was fired from the store on the corner of Main and Liberty Streets in April of 2022 but was the first Starbucks worker in the state to be reinstated after a wrongful termination case. She is still waiting to receive backpay that the judge ordered that she deserves from the national coffee chain.

Whitbeck says she is looking forward to the corporate office to join them in beginning the bargaining process.

“Everybody is sticking together. I got a very warm welcome from partners and baristas when I came back, which was really, really nice. So, I will be planning some stuff here in the future to hopefully get some answers and get some negotiating going.”

Currently, 13 Starbucks locations in Michigan have unionized, including five of them in the Ann Arbor area.

A Starbucks spokesperson said in a statement: "We remain engaged and ready to bargain in-person with the unions certified to represent our partners according to longstanding [National Labor Relations Board] precedent, and we continue to encourage all parties to apply current law in their approach to future bargaining efforts."

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Josh Hakala is the general assignment reporter for the WEMU news department.
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