Pandemic inequities push food workers to unionize

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Starbucks workers from across Tallahassee celebrate after securing a win in their union election Tuesday May 3, 2022. Photo by Christopher Cann / USA TODAY NETWORK via Reuters Connect.

As the trend in union membership has decreased among food workers over the last 70 years, income inequality has increased. 

But the pandemic highlighted many inequalities in the food industry, and now momentum grows as more people try to unionize. 

At least 20 corporate Starbucks locations have unionized nationwide. In April, employees of an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island voted to do the same. What does this uptick in union organization mean for food and farm workers? Lisa Held reports on the galvanized movement for Civil Eats. She explains that workers want protection.

“Statistics suggest the pot of water has been simmering on the stovetop for decades. COVID-19 simply turned the heat up to a boil,” Held says.