Amid the upsurge of NLRB wins, workers are still struggling to secure their first contracts—and real change in the workplace.

by Sarah Jaffe, The Progressive

On the morning of December 16, workers from about 100 Starbucks stores across the United States began a three-day strike. They were protesting the company’s closure of unionized locations and its refusal to bargain with workers at more than 260 stores who have already voted to become part of Starbucks Workers United.

That same morning, workers from Planned Parenthood North Central States (PPNCS) held a virtual press conference to tell reporters how their bargaining process was going. Ashley Schmidt, a training and development specialist for Planned Parenthood clinics in Nebraska and Western Iowa, noted that the desire to unionize among clinic workers was a sign of the need for change at the organization, and it “deserves to be met with goodwill and without stalling.”

Starbucks workers, members of Workers United, and their supporters picket the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York

These were just a few of the workers who have voted to unionize in recent years, in an upsurge of victories in National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) elections, but who are still struggling to secure their first contract. In some cases, like at PPNCS, workers have been able to meet with management. But, as worker Grace Larson—who was featured in this column last September—says, the meetings left workers “generally disappointed” in their employer’s response to the process.

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