After decades of promising starts and disappointing finishes, it looks like the union movement is taking off at some of America’s largest employers.
As I write this, employees at close to 100 Starbucks locations have voted to join the Starbucks Workers United union, and NLRB-supervised votes are pending at hundreds of other locations.
Meanwhile, workers at an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island, N.Y., chose to join the Amazon Labor Union in spite of a ferocious campaign by the company to induce them to vote “no.” And late last year, employees at five Burgerville restaurants in the Portland, Oregon, area ratified America’s first corporate-wide labor contract with a fast-food chain.
There’s more to come. Employees at Apple stores in Georgia, Maryland, and New York City have launched efforts to obtain union representation. Similar campaigns are underway at Trader Joe’s and REI. Even members of the National Guard and congressional staffers are showing interest in unions.
What’s behind this phenomenon?
We can sum it up this way: America’s workers — especially millennials — have had enough.
Years after the manufacturing jobs that sustained their parents’ middle-class lifestyles have gone away, millions of young Americans are trapped in low-wage gigs with poor benefits (if any), unreliable scheduling, and bosses who treat them badly with no repercussions. At the same time, they see a relative handful of billionaires gobbling up the lion’s share of the wealth they create for their employers.
They are right to ask, “Where’s my fair share?”
This is where unions come in.
Unions like the UFCW are all about working people standing together and demanding a voice in how they are compensated for their work and how they are treated at their workplaces.
Are we on the threshold of a new era of worker solidarity?
Let’s do whatever we can to make it happen.
— President Brian String