Labor’s tentacles seek to spread far and wide into industries previously imagined to be invulnerable. That’s especially the case as unions hope to recover from waning membership with a mere 6.1% of private-sector employees currently paying union dues.
A few key developments made prominent headlines, particularly in the retail industry:
- Cannabis worker organizing campaigns chalked up 60 union victories in 2021, nearly double the figures of both 2020 and 2019. In fact, cannabis legalization is the overriding reason why retail unionization is on the rise. Naturally, the Teamsters and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union both want to get a leg up on this trend as states increasingly greenlight marijuana use.
- REI (paywall) employees in SoHo, Manhattan voted to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union as the company’s first unionized location in the U.S.
- Outside of retail, banks and credit unions appear to be a major target for unions to drum up more membership numbers. The goal of capturing parts of the financial industry could be an employer vulnerability, other than (per the NLRA) when it comes to supervisors and managers. The Communications Workers of America (CWA) counted recent successes including New York’s Genesee Co-op joining the union in January 2022. This follows multiple banks on the West Coast who saw successful CWA drives in 2020.
- Unions (with support from VP Kamala Harris) will aim for future organization of companies in North Carolina, despite its Right to Work status (employers can’t make union membership or dues mandatory to hold a job). Worth watching.
- On a brighter note, the Teamsters did get the boot from sanitation workers in New Jersey and New York, who “overwhelmingly” voted to decertify the union.