Fran Swanson

Fran Swanson is a student at Harvard Law School.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced raises and expanded training for employees—except those at unionized stores and stores that have petitioned the National Labor Relations Board for an election, the New York Times reports.  Workers United has filed an unfair labor practice charge against the company. As Professor Matthew Bodie explained, not offering these benefits to unionized stores may violate the company’s obligation to bargain in good faith and, for those stores seeking to unionize, it is “[h]ard to see how this is that much different in practice” than saying “[d]rop the union campaign and you’ll get this wage increase and better benefits,” which would “clearly be illegal.”

In the Boston metro area, independent coffee shops are also seeing a wave of union activity, Jacobin reports. Over 15 independent coffee shops have unionized in the area in the past year.  Workers are represented by UNITE HERE. According to Lip Manegio, a barista at 1369 Coffee House where workers are seeking voluntary recognition, “even the best management is still management, and having support and structure and accountability, the things a union can provide, is important.” Having the support of UNITE HERE and having other independent coffee shop baristas who have unionized as resources has been essential. And, Manegio said that the highly visible Starbucks campaign has also helped, because “[s]eeing workers with some of the best benefits in the industry still rightly insist that they deserve better is inspiring.”

LinkedIn has reached a conciliation agreement with the Department of Labor to pay $1.8 million in back pay with interest to female employees who were paid far less than their male colleagues, the New York Times reports. DOL investigated LinkedIn as part of a routine evaluation pursuant to Executive Order 1965, which requires that federal government contractors provide “equal opportunity” to employees. It comes after Google reached a $3.8 million settlement with the Department in 2021 after the company discriminated against female and Asian American candidates and employees.

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