Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Worker Justice | Sojourners

Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Worker Justice

People of faith can help Starbucks workers and others in their pursuit of economic equity.
Raised hands lift up banners with cartoon-style clouds on a sky-blue background with a bright yellow sun in the center. Behin the banners, blue-gray cartoon clouds are shadowed on a dark gray background
Illustration by Adrián Astorgano

WHY THE RECENT surge in union activity? The nationwide shortage of workers is one factor, to be sure, as is the COVID pandemic. But another contagion might be even more important: Hope. “You see it most clearly with the Starbucks campaign where they won those initial two victories, and it was like a switch going off for people: ‘We can do this!’” labor attorney Alex van Schaick told Sojourners. “There was a contagion effect, in a positive sense. Hope is contagious — I think that’s really true.” Clayton Sinyai, executive director of the Catholic Labor Network, agreed that the confidence and resolve of workers is making a dramatic difference. “It seemed for a long time that employers had gotten so skilled at manipulating the union election process that a lot of people had become very discouraged about trying to form unions,” Sinyai said. “Now we’re seeing a generation of workers who are not taking no for an answer.”

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