May 20, 2022
Friday. We made it, y'all!
😎 Today's weather: Clear skies with a high of 91.
Situational awareness: It's the last day of early voting before the Tuesday primary. More than half a million Georgians have already gotten it done.
🎉 Don’t forget: The Beltline Lantern Parade takes over the Westside Trail tomorrow night.
Today's newsletter is 942 words — a 3.5-minute read
1 big thing: Save room for a union in your coffee
Today, employees at a Berkeley Park Starbucks will decide whether to form a union to advocate for higher wages and better benefits.
- It would be the first union at any of the java giant’s Atlanta stores.
Why it matters: The push by baristas here — and efforts by employees at the Cumberland Mall Apple store — are high-profile, early tests of metro Atlanta workers' appetite for organizing.
The big picture: Starbucks’ starting pay and benefits have made it stand out among other businesses, but employees want a greater say in staffing numbers and salary increases.
What they’re saying: “We love to work at Starbucks, to be partners here, to be part of a community,” Page Smith, one of the Howell Mill Road employees and organizers, told the AJC. “But we feel strongly that we are not held in as much respect as we’d like to be.”
State of play: Georgia has a well-known and long-standing reputation as being friendly to business and not so friendly to labor.
- Roughly 6% of Georgia workers are represented by a union, and its right-to-work laws prohibit employers from requiring employees to join the union.
The other side: Starbucks is opposing the union efforts in Atlanta and elsewhere across the country, saying the company wants to work directly with employees on workplace and labor conditions.
- Atlanta Starbucks employees say store managers, who aren't part of the unionization efforts, have read anti-labor statements to workers, the AJC reports.
Of note: Last month, a Starbucks in Augusta was the first Georgia location to unionize.
What’s next: A Starbucks on Piedmont Road also is in the process of forming a union. Earlier this month, employees at Starbucks’ Ansley Mall store announced plans to unionize.
2. Rep. Loudermilk gets a request from the Jan. 6 committee
The Jan. 6 select committee is requesting testimony from north metro Atlanta Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), the panel announced yesterday, Emma and Axios's Andrew Solender report.
Why it matters: The request comes as the panel's members have become increasingly willing to seek information from their colleagues. They even went as far as to subpoena five House Republicans earlier this month.
The details: In a letter to Loudermilk, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the chair of the panel, wrote that Loudermilk has information regarding "a tour you led through parts of the Capitol complex on January 5, 2021," citing a review of evidence in the committee's possession.
- "Public reporting and witness accounts indicate some individuals and groups engaged in efforts to gather information about the layout of the U.S. Capitol, as well as the House and Senate office buildings, in advance of January 6," Thompson continued.
- Thompson also said the panel has evidence that "directly contradicts" assertions by Republicans on the House Administration Committee, of which Loudermilk is a member, that a review of footage determined there were "no tours, no large groups, no one with MAGA hats on" leading up to Jan. 6.
The other side: "A constituent family with young children meeting with their member of Congress in the House Office Buildings is not a suspicious group or 'reconnaissance tour,'" Loudermilk and Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), the top Republican on the House Administration Committee, said in a statement.
- They said the family never entered the building, accusing the Jan. 6 committee of "pushing a verifiably false narrative" and calling on the Capitol Police to "release the tapes."
Catch up quick: Loudermilk was one of a majority of Georgia House Republicans to object to the election certification, saying later that he believed it was “the right thing to do.”
- Text messages reported by CNN showed Loudermilk was messaging with former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Jan. 6, saying: “It’s really bad up here on the hill. They have breached the Capitol…this doesn’t help our cause.”
What's next: Thompson said they are seeking an interview during the week of May 23.
- If history is any guide, Loudermilk is not likely to cooperate. All six House Republicans who the panel has sought out have so far refused.
3. Champagne dates on a beer bottle budget
Dating can be expensive, but it doesn't HAVE to be, writes Axios' Sami Sparber.
- Whether you’re on a first date or 500th, here are some ideas under $25.
1. Enjoy a drive-in movie
Catch a double feature from your car at Starlight. Find out what's playing and coming soon.
- Best for: Nostalgic couples.
- Cost: $10 per adult
- Details: Tickets allow admission for two movies on the same screen. Parking is first-come, first-served. Bring your own provisions.
2. Stroll through Oakland Cemetery
Take a romantic walk among the headstones, mausoleums, and native landscaping at the city's oldest public park.
- Best for: History buffs and people who aren't creeped out by cemeteries.
- Cost: Free to visit, with ticketed tours offered throughout the year. Details.
3. Sample a selection of kombucha
Take a booze break and try Cultured South's rotating menu of kombucha, including CBD-infused options and a kombucha gelato float.
- Best for: Those looking for affordable, alcohol-free fun.
- Cost: $5+ per kombucha.
- Details: Check out our guide to patio season in Atlanta.
Stop by to see who’s hiring
4. Five-ish Points: "Buckhead Shore?!"
🍼 Can't find baby formula? Here's what you can try. (Capital B Atlanta)
👀 The city of Atlanta is considering driverless technology to improve services. (AJC)
🐎 The nearly 100-year-old Chastain Horse Park is set to undergo renovations. (Urbanize Atlanta)
🏈 16 states have banned trans youth in sports. 12 are considering similar legislation. (Axios)
🤔 MTV plans to debut a "Jersey Shore" spinoff for Atlanta called "Buckhead Shore." The AJC's Rodney Ho, like us, has questions. (AJC)
🧒 Middle school students stage walk out in support of the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling (Decaturish)
😋 Kristal is determined to try all of Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream flavors by the end of the year.
🧁 Emma feels a little weird being in D.C. the week before the primary, but also...loves any chance to visit A Baked Joint.
🚲 Thomas is riding e-bikes alllllll night long in D.C.