July/August 2022 Issue
June 19, 2022

Workers across the country choose labor for stronger voice

Author: Ben Amey
Source: NYSUT United
supporting starbucks workers
Caption: NYSUT officers J. Philippe Abraham and Andy Pallotta flank Michelle Eisen, organizing member of Starbucks Workers United. AFT and NYSUT leaders met with Starbucks organizers in Buffalo in early June. Photo by El-Wise Noisette.

2022 is the year of the labor movement across the country. This year, unions have formed at Starbucks nationwide and at an Amazon warehouse on Staten Island, and workers have filed for union elections at Apple stores in Atlanta and New York City.

Two of the more than 120 Starbucks stores that have unionized are in NYSUT’s backyard close to Albany headquarters. And recently, NYSUT leadership visited the first Starbucks store to unionize in Buffalo. Between October 2021 through March 2022, the National Labor Relations Board received 1,174 petitions seeking union representation. That is a 57 percent increase from the same period a year prior, and the most union organizing the NLRB has seen in a decade.

“Interest in unions is on the rise, and New York continues to set the pace as one of the most unionized states in the nation,” NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said. “Publicsector unions have remained strong despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus decision, and it’s invigorating to see workers banding together from Amazon to Starbucks to the agricultural sector. The trajectory for organized labor in this state — and the nation — is one of greater worker voice, better working conditions and more economic justice.”

While efforts by the Amazon Labor Union and Starbucks Workers United may seem separate from the work of NYSUT members, they represent one interconnected labor movement. NYSUT and AFT added their names to a letter submitted by the Amazon LU to state Attorney General Letitia James to investigate Amazon for violation of the terms of the Excelsior Jobs Program with their union-busting activities.

“We all must remain vigilant. Support your union siblings where you see them,” Pallotta said. “Together we can ensure a fair future for all.”