© Reuters. A placard is seen as Amazon Labour Union (ALU) members celebrate official victory after hearing results regarding the vote to unionize, outside the NLRB offices in Brooklyn, New York City, U.S., April 1, 2022. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
By Hilary Russ
(Reuters) -The COVID-19 pandemic, labor shortage, Black Lives Matter movement and other social and economic forces have contributed to an uptick in high-profile union organizing across the United States including a victory on Friday at an Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:) warehouse in New York City.
Among U.S. wage and salary workers last year, 10.3% were in a union – half of the 1983 percentage – and union membership in the private sector including Amazon and Starbucks Corp (NASDAQ:) was just 6.1% last year. There were 149 union elections in January and February of this year, compared to 103 in the same two months last year.
Here is a look at some notable recent union victories.
Workers at an Amazon.com facility in New York City’s Staten Island on Friday voted in favor of forming a union, making it the online retailer’s first U.S. facility to organize.
The victory by a new, independent union at the No. 2 U.S. private employer adds to recent successes by labor activists pushing into new industries. Not all labor drives are successful, including the preliminary result of a ballot count at Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama.
Employees at 10 U.S. Starbucks locations have voted in recent months to join Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. The cafes include five in Buffalo, New York; two in Mesa, Arizona; one each in Seattle and Knoxville, Tennessee; and a Starbucks Reserve Roastery in New York City.
At least 170 others had petitioned for elections as of Friday. Ballot counts are scheduled for more than a dozen other cafes in the next couple weeks.
Starbucks beat back the union in one Buffalo store.
NEW YORK TIMES
About 600 designers, software engineers, data analysts and other tech employees at the New York Times voted in March to join the NewsGuild of New York, which has won a number of other elections in the past two years.
The March results created the largest union of tech workers in the United States with bargaining rights. The NewsGuild also represents Reuters’ U.S. journalists.
Contractors for the high-speed internet provider Google Fiber, part of Alphabet (NASDAQ:) Inc, in Kansas City, Missouri voted last week to unionize. While only 10 workers are involved, it was the first group of Alphabet Workers Union (AWU) with bargaining rights.
AWU said it has 800 members since launching just over a year ago, but those members do not have the right to collectively bargain.
In June, the United Food and Commercial Workers reached agreements with cannabis lab Sonoma Lab Works and cannabis manufacturer CannaCraft Manufacturing to unionize their workers in California.
As the number of cannabis growers and dispensaries have grown, so too have union drives in the industry. UFCW said it is now the largest cannabis workers union in the United States with more than 10,000 members.
In 2020, the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter’s employees voted to join a union, the first big tech company to do so. Workers at location data startup Mapbox in August lost their bid to form a union.
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