Federal judge orders Starbucks to give jobs back to ‘Memphis 7′

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Six months.

That’s how long seven Memphis Starbucks workers have been without a job after they said they were fired for trying to form a union.

But, that may soon change.

A federal judge has ordered the company to give the group known as the ‘Memphis 7′ their jobs back.

SEE MORE: 7 fired Starbucks workers celebrate union vote in Memphis

Employees at the Starbucks on Poplar Avenue near Highland Street are brewing up more than coffee. They’re brewing up change.

“It’s a signal to workers as well as to Starbucks. Their union-busting tactics for any of us are not going to work from here on out,” Beto Sanchez said.

Sanchez is one of the seven former employees at the Memphis Starbucks that was fired in February after they joined the growing movement to unionize.

This week, they learned they may soon be putting back on their badges and aprons.

“Whenever we received the news, I dropped my phone, because this has been months and months of work finally coming into fruition,” Sanchez said.

A federal judge ordered Starbucks to reinstate the employees, known as ‘The Memphis 7.’

The national labor relations board got involved in May and said Starbucks violated U.S. labor law by interfering in the workers’ right to organize.

“When we lost a third of our store it was devastating. In my head, I was like oh, my god. We just lost our fight in this,” Reaghan Hall, a current employee at the store, said.

Starbucks corporate released a statement saying they strongly disagree with the ruling.

The company said the workers were fired because they violated numerous safety policies. Starbucks plans to appeal.

For now, Sanchez said they’re not giving up their fight for a union and for better working conditions.

“We’re finally able to be proud of the work we’ve been doing, and I am hoping this is a sign that the power of people is really something to be afraid of,” he said.

The Memphis 7 has gained national attention. Their firings have sparked rallies and protests across the country, including outside Starbucks headquarters in Seattle.

Tennessee is a right-to-work state.

That makes it illegal for workplaces to require union membership or dues as a condition of employment.

The law also prevents employers from firing workers if they are part of a union.

A proposed amendment would add the state’s right-to-work law to the Tennessee constitution.

Voters will decide on the proposed amendment on November 8.