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Thinking of unionization? 3 lessons from the Starbucks case

On Behalf of | Apr 13, 2022 | Hotel And Restaurant Unions, Union Representation |

Anyone that watches the news is seeing report after report discussing unionization efforts within well-known corporations. Amazon, Starbucks, these are just a few. Based on these reports it appears these efforts are increasing. But what does this mean? Why would people push for unionization and what can they learn from these most recent efforts?

When it comes to the coffee mega-giant, recent figures show employees at over 60 Starbucks stores throughout 19 states are looking into unionization and some have already started. Forbes reports that unions are already present in Starbucks located within airports and grocery stores and the company is fighting against a wave of unionization efforts throughout their stores, most notably in New York.

Why New York?

For one, the company’s flagship store in Manhattan recently voted to unionize. It is the largest Starbucks restaurant to join this trend. For another, this is not the only example. Stores throughout the state are joining. Thus far there are unionized Starbucks stores in Buffalo, Rochester, and Ithaca.

What does this mean for others who are considering starting a union?

Those who are in this position can learn the following from the Starbucks case:

  • Motivation. Do not underestimate this wave. The reasons behind the movement may vary. Some pointed to frustrations with customer treatment while others voiced frustration about how executive members of the organization chose to treat workers. Whatever fuels the push to unionize may vary, but, as highlighted by the Starbucks stores that have already built successful unions, the motivation to band together and fight back is powerful.
  • Power in numbers. The motivation point leads into this lesson as well. The push against unionization serves as a reminder of the power in numbers. The ability of a union to represent the interests of workers gives them a voice at the table where decisions are made, a loud voice.
  • Labor market shortage. The trend towards unionization brings even more attention to current labor market issues. There are simply not enough workers to fill positions. This gives these workers an advantage when pushing for better work conditions and looking to start up a union.

Unions can lead to improved working conditions. Those who are looking to organize and are concerned about interference can seek counsel from a union representation attorney to better ensure their rights are protected throughout the process.