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How Much of Current Unionization Boom Is Attributable to Nationwide Starbucks Campaign?


As previously discussed, union organizing has been burning at a historic clip in 2022. Newly released data collected by Bloomberg further confirms this. What is surprising, and contrary to what many observers may have thought, the heat is not just the organizing wave hitting Starbucks.

In its NLRB Election Statistics: Mid-Year 2022 report, Bloomberg reported that for the first half of 2022, 837 representation elections were held, and in 641 of those elections, the union won. That’s nearly double the number of elections (and wins) for the same period in 2021. These wins have resulted in an additional 43,150 organized workers, as compared to 18,912 in the first half of 2021.

Union Stats 2022

While the headlines have been dripping with stories about the latest Starbucks location to hold a union vote, a Bloomberg analysis has determined that only 200 of the 641 union vote wins came from Starbucks workplaces. And from those Starbucks votes, only 5,313 new employees became covered by a union, representing only 12% of the total, newly covered employees:

NRLB Elections 2022

The other 400 wins and 38,000 newly covered employees, which represent the vast majority of union wins, represent a traditional mix of industries across healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, and the like. These substantial gains make it clear the union organizing has grown across all sectors and cannot be solely attributed to the activity brewing at Starbucks.  

Much like an extra shot of espresso, the activity around Starbucks has added a significant boost to union activity. However, those monitoring these developments should be careful not to confuse the oversized coverage of these efforts with the actual impact on the nationwide trend. In other words, employers should be cognizant that union activity is growing across all sectors and is not segmented to Starbucks or the service industry. 

Union organizing efforts are rapidly expanding and outpacing previous years in all industries. Companies desiring to remain union-free should consider proactive steps with regard to employee relations, vulnerability assessments, and other tools at their disposal in order to stay out in front of the pack.


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