Starbucks Workers United wins in US’s most anti-union city.

By John Logan, Truthout

The Starbucks Workers United union campaign continues to produce astounding election wins week after week. As of this writing, more than 260 stores have petitioned for National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) elections: The union has won more than 70 NLRB elections, most by overwhelming margins, and has lost only nine elections. The union has won elections throughout the country, including in places where union victories are rare, including in Mesa, Arizona; Boone, North Carolina; Jacksonville, Florida; Knoxville, Tennessee; Augusta, Georgia; and Overland Park, Kansas.

Last Monday, workers in Greenville, South Carolina, voted eight to one to become the first unionized store in the state. Greenville has a deserved reputation as being “among the most relentlessly anti-union cities in the nation,” as The New York Times described it in 1977. Starbucks Workers United’s victory there is arguably one of the most remarkable union wins in recent years.

Activists march at the Starbucks Worker Solidarity Rally in support of unionization for baristas and other retail workers.

For the past two years, South Carolina has been the least unionized state in the country, and is the only state with a union density under 2 percent: South Carolina’s union density in 2021 was just 1.7 percent. The next lowest state, North Carolina, was 2.6 percent.

Most recent union campaigns in the state have failed: In a campaign that lasted for several years before a defeat in 2017, the machinists union was met with a blistering anti-union campaign inside and outside of Boeing in North Charleston, South Carolina. Then-Republican Gov. Nikki Haley stated, “We discourage any companies that have unions from wanting to come to South Carolina because we don’t want to taint the water.”

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