Employment in 2022 was all about quiet quitting. Quiet quitting is the employer-designated phrase for the phenomenon whereby employees do the minimum required for the job, putting in no more time or effort than is absolutely necessary. Employees, however, see it differently. Why, they ask, would a person work beyond what she is paid to do? It isn’t quiet quitting, as employees see it. It is simply putting in the amount of work that is commensurate with their salary. 

When employers ask their staff to increase production without increasing their pay, this is labor exploitation in the interest of corporate profits. The only people who benefit are corporate leaders and shareholders, while the average employee reaps no reward for his additional labor. 

Last fall, Starbucks employees had enough and began the process of unionizing, store by store. As of October, 2022, more than 300 Starbucks stores have successfully held union elections. An impressive feat, considering that only one year prior, not a single company-owned Starbucks store had a union. In elections, 80% of those stores (245 of them) voted in favor of forming a union. 

Starbucks, in turn, began a quiet campaign to retaliate against union organizers. The company has taken a vast array of measures to shut down union activity, including anti-union messaging, announcing raises for non-union stores only, and firing union organizers. In total, Starbucks is facing more than 325 unfair labor practice charges. 

And yet, Starbucks employees persist. 

Considering that the average American has twelve jobs in their lifetime, it’s possible that you have experienced a situation in which your employer has asked you to increase your production, added tasks to your job description, or otherwise expected you to work more, without any increase in pay or benefits. If this is you and you are tired of unfair, exploitative labor practices, please read part two, “How to Start a Labor Union" coming very soon.


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