More and more people are saying...
More and more people are saying... RS

Today happens to be Friday the 13th, but I’m here to tell you right now: We don’t care. We don’t care! We’ve been through two-and-a-half years of a deadly pandemic, seen the rise and fall of funny money and JPEG monkeys, and we are simply too tough to get spooked by Friday the 13th anymore. Grow up, Friday the 13th! Alright, let’s get into it.

Another bad week for Starbucks: The National Labor Relations Board has had it with Starbucks. On Tuesday, the department filed in federal court to reinstate “The Memphis 7,” the group of seven workers who were fired in February for speaking to the media about their organizing efforts. In the strongest language from the NLRB yet, Region 15 Regional Director Kathleen McKinney said, “Given Starbucks’ egregious conduct interfering with the federally protected rights of its employees, we are asking the Court to swiftly grant the injunction.” See the rest of the press release here. Bang.

Nice work, Slate. Yesterday the outlet ran a piece chastising Starbucks for its union-busting efforts.

We must, we must, we must increase our bust: How is the busting business going for Starbucks, anyway? Well, that More Perfect Union tracker shows that 257 Starbucks stores nationwide have organized, including another two bean shops from ‘round these parts this week; one in our fair city, and another up in Bellingham. The People’s Policy Project dug into the data on Wednesday, and, based on the union’s 90% win rate, they projected that soon 228 of those stores will be unionized, representing over 6,000 workers.

And now…this: Not to mention, now Howie Schultz (yes, that one) has to figure out why actor James Cromwell super-glued himself to the counter at one of Starbucks’ stores in New York. Apparently he’s protesting dairy-alternative milk being more expensive than the regular stuff. I mean, sure, but we’re trying to redistribute the wealth here. Please get out of the way. Well, at least his drip was pretty decent.

Chris Smalls is having a moment: Speaking of drip, My President Mr. Chris Smalls was featured on Desus and Mero this week. He talked about the importance of unionizing a toxic company like Amazon. The Financial Times – of all places – ran a piece on his iconic fits. That got me thinking: I would like to find some good pro-union/Eat the Rich/etc merch. Turns out there isn’t much out there! Please sound off in the comments if you know somewhere I can find a decent T with a guillotine pro-labor design.

Introducing LaborLab: I know where you can find union-busters in your backyard. Yesterday, The Stand reported they’d dug through a valuable tool called LaborLab, which tracks anti-labor activity in a searchable database, and found three times when Washington companies hired union-busters in the past couple years:

  • Cannabis & Glass in Spokane hired Labor-Management Associates LLC, a Kentucky-based union-avoidance consultant, in August of 2020 to discourage its employees from joining with UFCW. Cannabis & Glass agreed to pay them $1,500 per day plus reasonable and customary travel expenses.

  • Lineage Logistics in Richland hired Government Resources Consultants of America, an Illinois-based union-busting firm, in December 2021 to discourage its drivers from organizing with Teamsters Local 839.

  • Country Doctor Community Health Centers in Seattle hired the “union avoidance” firm Davis Grimm Payne & Marra in January 2022 to discourage its employees from joining together with SEIU Healthcare 1199NW.

    So, you know, screw ‘em!

    Apple getting bruised: This week VICE reported that Apple has started distributing anti-union talking points to its managers as more of its workers unionize, and some hero leaked the memo so all of us can read it and laugh. One of the talking points: "There are a lot of things to consider. One is how a union could fundamentally change the way we work." Uh, yeah, that’s the point!

    Speaking of getting the point: Check out this video More Perfect Union put out this week on Apple workers unionizing. The opening line? “We talk about this country as a place where democracy thrives, but we work 80% of our lives in an environment where we have no democracy, we have no vote, in the little things that affect us.” Folks, this is the whole deal: We have to pull together to have any power in this country. Clearly our politicians will not save us. More here:

    Whole lotta labor events: Jacked up now? Bust out your calendar.

  • The Washington Labor Education and Research Center is hosting a virtual event on the history of labor next week on Tuesday, May 17th at 4 pm PDT.

  • Director of the UCLA Labor Center Dr. Ken Wong will present a virtual event called Revolutionary Nonviolence next Friday, May 20th from 10 AM to 2 pm PDT.

  • The Labor Notes Conference will be in-person June 17-19 in Chicago, featuring a huge list of speakers, including Christian Smalls, Teamsters President Sean O’Brien, and Michelle Eisen of Starbucks Workers United.

  • The U.S. Department of Labor is hosting a virtual career fair on Friday, June 24th from 6:30 am (Jeez, East Coast much?) to 4 pm PDT.

    For all you UW eggheads out there: Are you escaping the real world for a couple years in grad school? An undergrad studying labor? Apply for this scholarship from the Harry Bridges Center and get up to $10,000 to keep doing the good work.

    Bridges student making good trouble: Or you can pick up a Labor Studies minor and be like Josh Davis, a Bridges Center student who is helping organize the Seattle Art Museum. Check out a profile on him here.

    Hmm, what else, what else, what else: The Old Gray Lady reported that Congressional staffers won the right to organize; New Republic profiled unions that are literally saving our democracy; and the Seattle Times—always late to the party—says that Washington workers can talk about their salary with their co-workers — as a treat!

    Please: Drop links to pro-labor Ts in the comments, and if I like them and feel like spending some money on them, then I promise I will buy them. Send tips if you got ‘em. And, as always, thank you for all your kind comments and emails about how much you like Worker Conquests—I screenshot every one of them and text them to my mom. [Eds note: And to me.]

    For the banger of the week, I was hoping to drop one from the new Kendrick album, but listening to it feels like homework! So, instead, here’s a 2014 deep cut from The War on Drugs where they somehow nail 2022:

    When it all breaks down and we're runaways
    Standin' in the wake of our pain
    And we stare straight into nothin'
    But we call it all the same
    You were raised on a promise
    Found that over time
    Better come around to the new way
    Or watch as it all breaks down here

    Here’s to a better new way. I’m off to grab a union-made beer. Have a great weekend, folks.