Tip Sheets

To the bargaining table: Work ahead for newly unionized workers

Media Contact

Becka Bowyer

Workers voted to form unions at all three of Ithaca’s Starbucks, making it the first city to have all its locations unionized. 

Cathy Creighton

Director of Cornell University ILR Buffalo Co-Lab

Cathy Creighton, director of the Buffalo Co-Lab at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, previously worked for the National Labor Relations Board, as well as with dozens of labor unions in the Buffalo region.

Creighton says:

“Workers unionized despite the fact that their employers spent millions of dollars on defeating them. Why? Because norms are shifting. Workers are realizing that they can do better with a union. During the first six months of Fiscal Year 2022 (October 1 – March 31), union representation petitions filed at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) have increased 57%. These numbers are consistent with recent polling which shows that public approval of unions, as tracked by Gallup, has reached its highest point since 1965, with 68% of Americans approving.

“All eyes are now on whether the freshly unionized employees at Starbucks and Amazon will be able to achieve victories at the bargaining table. Will their efforts to get a voice in their workplace pay off?

“Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that they will succeed. Union households earn up to 20% more than non-union households, with an even greater union advantage for workers with less formal education and workers of color. Besides better outcomes in the paychecks’, unionized workers have better benefits, enjoy safer workplaces, have better health, have regular schedules, cannot get disciplined or fired for arbitrary reasons, and have higher civic engagement. Who wouldn’t vote for a raise and a better work life?

“Achieving an increase in wages, benefits, health and safety and other terms and conditions of employment will not be easy for these workers. U.S. labor law is antiquated and does not require employers to reach an agreement with their employees. It takes newly unionized employees an average of 409 days to reach a first contract.”

Cornell University has television, ISDN and dedicated Skype/Google+ Hangout studios available for media interviews.