Courthouse Steps Oral Argument: Starbucks Corp. v. McKinney

Event Video

Listen & Download

Starbucks Corp. v. McKinney sits at an interesting intersection of Labor and Administrative law. The facts of the case concern Starbucks Corp.'s alleged retaliation against seven Memphis workers for unionization efforts. The employees received disciplinary action and ultimately lost their jobs in the wake of their involvement in a unionization effort. In the following investigation, the NLRB found that there was reasonable cause to believe Starbucks had acted in retaliation against protected unionization efforts. A district court issued a temporary injunction and required the 7 former employees to be reinstated. The Sixth Circuit affirmed on appeal, concluding the NLRB had satisfied its burden in showing there was "reasonable cause" that Starbucks had violated the National Labor Relations Act and thus the NLRB could use its remedial power. Starbucks appealed again and the case was heard by the Supreme Court on April 23, 2023.

The question before the Supreme Court, however, is not the Labor Law question of whether Starbucks violated the NLRA, but an Administrative law one as the case asks what standard the NLRB needed to meet to obtain an injunction under Section 10(j) of the NLRA from a court. Is "reasonable cause" enough or is there a more stringent test a court should use?

Join us as we break down and analyze this interesting case and the Oral Argument in the days following the argument before the Court.


  • Sheng Li, Litigation Counsel, New Civil Liberties Alliance


As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker.