This browser is not actively supported anymore. For the best passle experience, we strongly recommend you upgrade your browser.
Insights Insights
| less than a minute read

Labor Unions Gaining Traction in the South

Seattle-based Starbucks is well-known for its expansive employee benefits, inclusive environment, and commitment to social causes. Yet, labor unions are making gains with Starbucks' employees including in the historically difficult Southern states. Employees cite inadequate pay and difficult working conditions. (As a descendent of Pennsylvania coal miners, perhaps my personal bar of "difficult working conditions" is out of step.)

Is this a sign of the (economic) times, or are we witnessing a new era in union organizing? What is the impact of a macro labor market which seems to favor mobility for unhappy hospitality workers? I've also read about a resurgence in the old labor practice of "salting"; i.e. pro-union workers taking jobs with the ulterior purpose of organizing an employer.

Employers here in the South would be wise to seriously consider their workforce as a potential target of union activity. They should also know their rights and responsibilities if the union shows up.

The unionizing and striking at the Howell Mill Road Starbucks is part of a budding surge of labor organizing in Georgia, a state with historically low rates of union representation. The baristas gathered Sunday — who were joined by members of the Atlanta Democratic Socialists of America, a labor-oriented political organization — said they hope others follow their example.


english_joe, insights, labor relations