In today’s labor news, Microsoft and the CWA announce an historic labor neutrality agreement, Dollar General workers are raising their voices, and workers at two midwest Starbucks locations have joined the CMRJB.
CWA announced yesterday that it had reached a labor neutrality agreement with Microsoft as it seeks to close its acquisition of Activision Blizzard. In return for neutrality towards unionizing, open communication among employees, a technology-supported process for choosing whether to join a union, and confidentiality and privacy, the CWA now openly supports the Microsoft-Activision acquisition, promises to facilitate union communication in a way that avoids businesses disruptions, and agrees to disagreement resolution and arbitration. Microsoft President Brad Smith said that the agreement means the company will not “put a thumb on the scale to influence or pressure” employees’ informed choices about unionization. This comes as a small group of workers at the video game company won a unionization vote just last month. They are represented by CWA. CWA has been in significant disputes at the NLRB with Activision Blizzard over the last year. Many see Microsoft’s agreement as a recognition that companies’ best interests are aligned with smooth and thriving labor relations, and hope to see more such neutrality agreements.
Dollar General, meanwhile, has maintained its stance of antagonism, as More Perfect Union Reports. Workers recently were given proxy by shareholders to attend a shareholder meeting, but the workers were not permitted to enter. The CEO reportedly “boasted” at the meeting about how well the company treats employees and how much it had invested in its workforce. Meanwhile workers protested outside that they can barely survive on Dollar General wages, with the median employee salary at $17,773. They also complain that Dollar General intentionally understaffs stores, leaving workers overworked and vulnerable to violent crime incidents. Dollar General workers have been organizing for the past several months.
Finally, Workers United CMRJB announced that two Starbucks stores joined as members yesterday, a “strong start to election week.” The stores, in St. Louis County, MO, and Denver, CO, voted to unionize 12-3 and 8-5 respectively. They were among over 100 Starbucks stores over the past weeks and months that have successfully petitioned to hold union elections. Starbucks has continued to strongly oppose the unionization movement.