Today’s News and Commentary: June 14, 2022

In today’s labor news, Microsoft and the CWA announce a landmark labor neutrality agreement, workers at Dollar General are speaking out, and workers at two Starbucks locations in the Midwest have joined the CMRJB.

CWA announced yesterday that it had reached a labor neutrality agreement with Microsoft as it seeks to close its acquisition of Activision Blizzard. In exchange for union neutrality, open communication between employees, a technology-supported process for choosing whether to join a union, and confidentiality and privacy, the CWA now openly supports the Microsoft-Activision acquisition, promises to make communication easier union in a manner that avoids business interruptions and accepts dispute resolution and arbitration. Microsoft Chairman Brad Smith said the deal means the company won’t “put a thumb in the balance to influence or pressure” employees’ informed decisions about unionization. This comes as a small group of video game company workers won a union vote last month. They are represented by CWA. CWA has been in significant disputes in the NLRB with Activision Blizzard over the last year. Many see the Microsoft deal as an acknowledgment that the best interests of companies are aligned with smooth and prosperous labor relations, and hope to see more such neutrality agreements.

Dollar General, meanwhile, has maintained its antagonistic stance, as More perfect union reports. Recently, shareholders empowered workers to attend a shareholders’ meeting, but they were not allowed to enter. The CEO reportedly “bragged” at the meeting about how well the company treats employees and how much he had invested in its workforce. Meanwhile, workers protested outside saying they can barely get by on wages at Dollar General, with an average employee wage of $17,773. They also complain that Dollar General intentionally understaffs stores, leaving workers overworked and vulnerable to incidents of violent crime. Dollar General workers have been organizing for the past several months.

Finally United Workers CMRJB announced that two Starbucks stores joined as members yesterday, a “strong start to election week”. The stores, in St. Louis County, MO, and Denver, CO, voted to unionize 12-3 and 8-5 respectively. They were among more than 100 Starbucks stores in recent weeks and months that have successfully called for union elections. Starbucks has continued to strongly oppose the unionization movement.

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