Millions spent on union-busting consultants

Today, Starbucks former CEO Howard Schultz is testifying before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) to answer claims he was involved in illegal union-busting at the coffee giant.

The Senate HELP Committee hearing, “No Company Is Above the Law: The Need to End Illegal Union Busting at Starbucks,” will shine a light on what so many corporations are doing to derail workers’ organizing rights.

One prolific union-busting tactic: Corporations hire “union-avoidance” consultants to dissuade and weaken workers’ unionization efforts. EPI estimates employers spend $433 million per year on these consultants—a figure that is just a drop in the bucket without sufficient data to expose the extent of employer spending on union avoidance.

Policymakers should pass the PRO Act and the No Tax Breaks for Union Busting Act, as well as finalize federal rulemaking, to protect workers and expose the full scope of corporations’ use of union-avoidance consultants and other union-busting tactics. Read the fact sheet

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What we’re talking about

The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act would strengthen workers’ rights

As companies make headlines for union busting, EPI’s Naomi Walker shares five ways the PRO Act would help workers—including by imposing penalties on corporate executives when they break the law during union organizing campaigns, offering workers monetary damages if they are fired during a union organizing campaign, and streamlining the union negotiations process. Watch the TikTok video

Employers regularly engage in tactics to suppress unions

More and more workers want to form unions, and while unionization rates are rising, the current rate is under half of what it was 40 years ago. Attacks on the right to organize and a rise in the use of corporate union-busting tactics are to blame.

Companies like Starbucks, Amazon, and Google are just the latest in a line of corporations using union-avoidance consultants and other tactics to disempower workers seeking improved pay and working conditions. Read the case studies

What we’re reading

‘Union-buster’ Howard Schultz departs from Starbucks and his replacement plans to work as a barista once a month. The rank and file isn’t buying it

Starbucks got a new CEO this week after Howard Schultz stepped down for the third time as the coffee chain’s head and a tenure marred by tussles with U.S. labor unions. Despite new CEO Laxman Narasimhan’s efforts to start off on the right foot by pledging to work at a store one day every month, unionized Starbucks baristas aren’t sold on it.

On Wednesday, unionized employees at roughly 100 Starbucks cafes went on strike to send a message to the company about its alleged union busting practices. Read the article

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