Published on: August 17, 2022
• The New York Times reports that workers at a Minneapolis Trader Joe's have voted to unionize, "adding a second unionized store to the more than 500 locations of the supermarket chain.
"Employees at a Trader Joe’s in Massachusetts voted to unionize last month, part of a trend of recent union victories involving service workers at companies like Starbucks, Apple and Amazon. The Minneapolis vote was 55 to 5, according to the National Labor Relations Board, which held the election."
A Trader Joe’s spokeswoman, Nakia Rohde, tells the Times, “While we are concerned about how this new rigid legal relationship will impact Trader Joe’s culture, we are prepared to immediately begin discussions with their collective bargaining representative to negotiate a contract.”
• From the Financial Times:
"Starbucks has accused federal labour officials of working with union leaders to sway election results and demanded the government halt all further ballots pending an investigation … Starbucks said a current employee of the NLRB — the federal agency that oversees collective bargaining in the US — had approached the company with evidence that labour officials in Kansas City shared information about mail-in ballots with the union.
"Starbucks detailed the allegations in a 14-page letter sent to the NLRB chair and general counsel on Monday, in which it also demanded that all upcoming union elections be halted pending an investigation. Some 34 stores have elections scheduled or in process, labour officials reported in a data release on Friday. Another seven stores have pending election requests."
The FT story notes that Starbucks "has been the target of one of the most concerted labour-organising campaigns in the fast-food industry since the 1980s, with more than 220 Starbucks stores across the country voting to unionise since December. Workers say the chain’s stores are understaffed and Starbucks is taking advantage of them for profit."
The NLRB said it will consider the Starbucks challenge.
• From Reuters:
"Workers at an Amazon.com Inc. warehouse near Albany, New York, are seeking to unionize, the National Labor Relations Board said in a statement on Tuesday.
"The Amazon Labor Union - the same independent group that organized a historic union win at another warehouse on New York's Staten Island in April - petitioned the federal labor board to hold an election at the warehouse near Albany and represent about 400 workers."
The story notes that "employees at dozens of Amazon warehouses across the United States are considering joining unions as the online retailer faces claims that it prioritizes profit over worker safety and has unlawfully discouraged union organizing."
• From the Los Angeles Times:
"Warehouse workers at Amazon’s largest air freight facility on the West Coast walked off the job Monday, demanding higher pay and relief from hot conditions they say are unsafe.
"Organizers with a group called Inland Empire Amazon Workers United said in a Facebook post that 160 employees walked out at the San Bernardino International Airport facility, which is a critical part of Amazon’s logistics network and one of the company’s three U.S. 'air hubs.'
"In a statement, Amazon officials disputed the number, saying that 74 out of roughly 1,500 employees at the facility walked out.
"About 900 employees at the San Bernardino airport have signed a petition calling for base pay to be increased from $17 per hour to $22 per hour, Inland Empire Amazon Workers United said in a statement."
• From The Information:
"At a moment when Amazon’s overall workforce is shrinking, the company is awarding stock to employees at a record-breaking clip to keep top talent from heading for the exits.
"Amazon granted 138 million restricted stock units to employees in the second quarter … an 82% increase from the number of restricted shares for employees it issued during the same period last year, according to corporate filings.
"That’s more shares than Amazon has ever awarded to employees in a single quarter, and more even than the number it issued to workers in all of 2021 … One big reason for the hefty stock awards: Amazon is doing everything it can to keep people, especially workers with much sought-after technical skills, as its stock tumbles and hiring competition intensifies. But it’s also happening at the same time that the company is deliberately reducing its total head count, mainly workers in its warehouses, who account for the vast majority of its 1.5 million employees, as of June 30. The company went on a hiring binge to handle a pandemic surge in online shopping, but once that surge abated Amazon found itself with too many staffers, a situation it has sought to remedy through attrition and by slowing hiring."