Apr 7, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Union election petitions jump as workers organize at major companies

Christian Smalls, organizer of the Amazon Labor Union, in New York City on April 1.

Christian Smalls, organizer of the Amazon Labor Union, speaking in New York City on April 1. Photo: Andrea Renault/AFP via Getty Images

Union representation petitions filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) have surged by 57% in the last sixth months, the agency said Wednesday.

Why it matters: The increase suggests that workers are increasingly seeking to organize as unionization efforts against large corporations, like Amazon and Starbucks, have seen success.

By the numbers: The NLRB said it has so far received 1,174 petitions in the first half of the 2022 fiscal year, up from 748 in 2021's first half.

  • The number of unfair labor practice charges it has received jumped by 14% — from 7,255 to 8,254.

What they're saying: "Right now, there is a surge in labor activity nationwide, with workers organizing and filing petitions for more union elections than they have in the last ten years," NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo said in a statement.

  • Abruzzo said the agency's increased caseload is stressing its budget and called on Congress to allocate more money for staff and resources.

The big picture: President Biden praised a victory by Amazon workers at a Staten Island warehouse at a conference Wednesday and warned the company by name, saying, "Amazon, here we come."

  • The workers last week voted 2,654 in favor of unionization vs. 2,131 opposed, establishing Amazon Labor Union — the first union in the company's history.
  • Starbucks workers at several of the chain's locations have voted to unionize over the past several months.

Go deeper: Amazon workers' union victory is turbocharging a new labor movement

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