News & Commentary

April 26, 2024

Esther Ritchin

Esther Ritchin is a student at Harvard Law School.

In today’s News and Commentary; Starbucks and Workers United resume bargaining talks, Amazon is ordered to disclose records, and Alabama voters support UAW’s unionization efforts.

After almost a year, Starbucks and Workers United resumed bargaining talks. Their initial meeting took place on Wednesday, April 24, in Atlanta. Around 250 union members intended to attend the meeting virtually, though it’s unclear how many did, and 150 union delegates attended in person. The past year has been tumultuous for the relationship between the union and the company; the former Starbucks CEO stated a union was fundamentally incompatible with Starbucks, and the company sued the union over their logo. Workers have staged strikes and fought, unsuccessfully, to put workers on the Starbucks Board. The return to the bargaining table accompanies other signs of goodwill, including Starbucks extending benefits it had previously denied to unionized stores, such as credit card tipping.

A federal judge in Seattle ruled against Amazon on Wednesday, saying the company must produce records to the Department of Labor. The records documented payments for executives’ travel in order to dissuade employees from unionization. The order was granted as the information was relevant to determining whether employees were acting within the scope of their normal duties or specifically in an anti-union capacity, and ordered disclosed pursuant to the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act.

A new poll conducted by More Perfect found that 52% of the 500 Alabamians surveyed supported workers unionizing with United Auto Workers (UAW), and just 21% were opposed, with the rest of respondents unsure or undecided. The poll comes in the wake of the successful UAW union drive at a Tennessee Volkswagen plant and in advance of a UAW vote in Alabama. The group most in favor was Black men, among whom 82% of respondents supported the workers, while white men were only 42% in favor. The vote, at the plant in Vance, Alabama, will take place in May.

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