The demand for unions has grown at a strong pace over the past fiscal year.
“We’ve now got hard data to back up a trend we’ve talked a lot about on ‘Marketplace’: The number of workplaces trying to unionize is on the rise. The National Labor Relations Board reported that over the last nine months, it’s seen a 56% increase in petitions, the documentation workers file for a union election.
In fact, the number of petitions filed in the first three-quarters of this fiscal year — just shy of 2,000 — is more than were filed during the entire previous fiscal year.
It certainly feels like there’s been a surge of union activity at big companies like Amazon, Starbucks and Apple, said Rebecca Givan, a professor of labor studies at Rutgers. But the number of workers unionizing is still pretty small.
‘Some of what’s in this count is a large number of relatively small workplaces,’ Givan said. ‘A Starbucks coffee shop with maybe 20 workers and an Amazon warehouse with 6,000 workers. Each of those is just one election.’
Of the petitions, 320 came from Starbucks — more than 16% of the recent tally. But Givan said the constant drumbeat of new union drives creates a certain perception. And perception matters.
Neha Cremin is a barista at a Starbucks in Oklahoma City that voted to unionize last month. ‘I don’t know, it’s just really inspiring just seeing store after store winning across the nation,’ she said.”
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