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What does the Starbucks unionization victory in Buffalo mean for the labor movement?

Kent Gardner appears on "Connections with Evan Dawson" on Tuesday, December 14, 2021.
Megan Mack
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Megan Mack
Kent Gardner appears on "Connections with Evan Dawson" on Tuesday, December 14, 2021.
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Last week, workers at a Starbucks store in Buffalo voted to unionize. It's the first Starbucks union in the country. Those in favor of the union call it a symbolic victory for the labor movement -- one that could pave the way for additional unions at Starbucks stores. They say it comes at a time when labor shortages give workers an upper hand to determine what they want from their jobs. Spokespeople for Starbucks say their stores function best when they are able to work directly with employees.

What does the union victory in Buffalo mean for the labor movement, especially in the context of worker shortages and pandemic changes? Our guests discuss it:

  • Kent Gardner, chief economist for the Center for Governmental Research
  • LaRue Heutmaker, Buffalo-area Starbucks barista who helped organize the union
Evan Dawson is the host of "Connections with Evan Dawson." He joined WXXI in January 2014 after working at 13WHAM-TV, where he served as morning news anchor. He was hired as a reporter for 13WHAM-TV in 2003 before being promoted to anchor in 2007.
Megan Mack is the executive producer of "Connections with Evan Dawson" and live/televised engagement programming.
Emmarae Stein is the production assistant for "Connections with Evan Dawson."