Local unions having "a moment"
Fresh off a successful union drive at a downtown Starbucks and the recent gains made by the high-profile Columbus teachers' strike, local employees in at least a half-dozen other workplaces are striving toward unionization.
State of play: When Worthington Libraries staffers voted last year to unionize, Grandview Heights library employees took notice and sought to organize themselves.
- So are workers at the Columbus Museum of Art, Wexner Center for the Arts and Disability Rights Ohio.
Why it matters: There's evidence of a burgeoning local labor movement as a growing number of employees seek better working conditions.
What they're saying: "It certainly seems like Columbus is having a moment right now," Melissa Cropper, president of the Ohio Federation of Teachers, tells Axios.
- Her organization is helping Grandview Heights unionize to have a stronger voice in future decision making.
The big picture: A statewide loss of manufacturing jobs drove a decline in union membership, falling to just 12% of Ohioans in 2021 — down from 21% three decades ago.
- But union participation is now expanding to workplaces not traditionally known for collective organizing, such as nonprofits and chain restaurants.
- Cropper says the pandemic awakened Ohioans to prioritize needs like paid sick leave and a healthy work-life balance.
- One organizing effort can start a domino effect among similar workplaces, she says.
Elsewhere, Columbus freelance media workers are planning their own union drive.
- And more than half of all minor league baseball players have signed union authorization cards, per ESPN, which could impact pay and other benefits for Columbus Clippers players.
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