News & Commentary

April 22, 2022

Anita Alem

Anita Alem is a student at Harvard Law School.

The latest Starbucks store successfully voted to unionize 38-27 on Thursday. The store, a flagship Starbucks Reserve Roastery, and the first to open of only six Starbucks Reserve locations worldwide, is located in Starbucks’ hometown of Seattle, Washington. As voting continues across the more than 200 locations that have filed for union elections, Starbucks has filed unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB alleging that Workers United threatened workers who did not support the union drive. The union has filed several charges against Starbucks, alleging retaliatory firings and other illegal union busting tactics.

Salespeople, technicians, and other workers at an Apple store in Atlanta could form the tech giant’s first unionized retail location. More than 70 percent of the workers signed union authorization cards to join the Communication Workers of America and the workers have filed for a union election with the NLRB. The CWA also represents unionized contractors with Alphabet, Google’s parent company. Apple retail store workers in New York City’s Grand Central location are gathering signatures to unionize with Workers United, the same affiliate of SEIU that is organizing Starbucks locations.

In an 8-1 decision in United States v. Vaello Madero, the Supreme Court announced on Thursday that the federal government’s exclusion of Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories from receiving Supplemental Security Income, a benefits program for older, low-income, and disabled individuals, does not violate the Constitution. Justice Sotomayor, the only dissenter, wrote that the majority’s decision “is irrational and antithetical to the very nature of the SSI program and the equal protection of citizens guaranteed by the Constitution.” The SSI program is only one of many federal programs that excludes people in the U.S. territories from accessing benefits that are made available only to the 50 states.

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