Across the nation’s recent headlines, it is difficult to miss the mounting wave of change coming from some of the world’s largest corporations. For the first time, workers at Amazon, Starbucks and Apple, are voting to unionize. After decades of decline within the organized American labor movement, union fever is starting to take hold, revealingly, in tandem with a global pandemic. This gain in workplace agency has been initiated and embraced by an entirely new and much younger workforce. Allies and skeptics alike have even ventured to call it a revolution- Is this true? And if so, why now?
On April 21, 2022 FOLCS was joined by Starbucks Workers United organizers Cassie Burke and Kylah Clay, two leaders of the unionization efforts in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, respectively. In this installment of the FOLCS Headlines Series, we ask two members of “Generation Union,” what exactly is it that has suddenly reinvigorated and reinvented the labor movement?
We are so grateful that Cassie Burke and Kylah Clay joined us for this conversation.
Starbucks Workers United Organizer, Rhode Island
Cassie Burke is a University of Massachusetts Lowell graduate, organizing the first Starbucks union in Rhode Island.
Starbucks Workers United Organizer, Massachusetts
Kylah Clay is a Starbucks barista and union organizer based in Boston, MA. She started organizing her store with the help of Starbucks Workers United in October 2020.
In April 2021, her store became the first Starbucks to unionize in Massachusetts. Kylah currently mentors and guides Starbucks stores throughout Massachusetts and New England to help them through the NLRB petitioning process. When she’s not organizing or working at Starbucks, you can find her rollerblading around town or tending to her collection of house plants.