Organizing Roundup: Chipotle, Liquor Stores, And Academia

by | Sep 22, 2022 | CWA, IBT, NLRB, SEIU

The influential effect of Starbucks inspired workers in the most obvious places (recently, a Heine Brothers’ Coffee location in Louisville) to vote for unions. Yet as we’ve already seen, the contagion keeps spreading to other industries while workers take notice of organizing baristas. Let’s run down the latest grab bag of stories:

  • Workers at the first (and only) unionized Chipotle opened up about their decision to join the Teamsters. These Generation Z workers used the new toolbox of strategies to organize, and although none of them previously held direct experience with a union, they described how they organized fellow workers on Snapchat and studied up on the procedures of the NLRB.
  • The organizing efforts at Apple retail stores appeared to take off in June but fizzled out with only one store (in Maryland) voting in a union after organizing as AppleCORE (Coalition of Organized Retail Employees) and also joining the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. In Oklahoma City, however, workers recently filed an NLRB petition for a vote to join the CWA. In addition, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and other union groups completed a shareholder proposal to ask for a review of employees’ rights.
  • Another private liquor store (Berezan Hospitality Group in Vancouver) saw workers vote to unionize on the heels of two other stores joining the SEIU.
  • The first private-sector architects (at Bernheimer Architecture) to unionize did so in NYC, where a 22-person workforce joined the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
  • Academia continues to attract a variety of unions. This month, graduate students at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute formed the WPI Graduate Workers Union with assistance from the United Auto Workers (UAW). Across the D.C. area, adjunct professors received similar treatment (and organizing interest) from the SEIU.
  • More Teamsters action led the Hollywood local’s leader, Lindsay Dougherty, to declare that the international union plans for more “militant” strategies (new international union chief Sean O’Brien uses that word to describe himself) and is already planning ahead for a contract expiration in two years.
  • The Teamsters continued their aggressive maneuvers by launching a devoted division to “help” (i.e., recruit) Amazon workers. The online retailer recently lost their bid to overturn the Amazon Labor Union victory at JFK8 warehouse, which remains the company’s only unionized warehouse. Efforts at other Amazon locations fizzled out, but another Amazon Labor Union vote will take place in October at the ALB1 warehouse in Albany, New York.

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