Young women are leading the fight for a union at Starbucks

November 23, 2021, 1:02 PM UTC
Starbucks barista behind at register
Many Starbucks' unionizers members of Gen Z, born 1997 or later.
Jeffrey Greenberg—Education Images/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Director Jane Campion could set an Oscars record, the Taliban bars women from appearing on TV dramas, and young women are leading a unionization campaign at Starbucks. Have a thoughtful Tuesday.

– Solidarity brewing. Angel Krempa comes from a union family. So when a unionization effort started to gain ground at the Starbucks store where she worked as a shift supervisor in upstate New York, she wanted to get involved.

Krempa, 23, is one of three Starbucks union activists who spoke to Fortune‘s Jane Thier about why they believe the $29 billion-in-revenue coffee chain needs a union. More than 100 workers at six New York stores will soon vote on whether they would like to unionize. If the vote achieves a majority, Starbucks will be compelled to bargain with organized labor for the first time.

The three activists who spoke to Jane have more in common besides their place of employment: all are Gen Z women.

LaRue Heutmaker, 19, and Maya Panos, 17, are both baristas at a Buffalo Starbucks, and say they’re supporting unionization for several reasons, from the disconnect between Starbucks’ corporate and retail workers to better health benefits.

Public approval of labor organizing has reached its highest level in decades, per Gallup, and three-quarters of new union members across the country are under 35. Hourly jobs like restaurant work—or serving coffee—are often dominated by women. So, a female-dominated industry, a labor market where workers are simultaneously in high demand and fighting for better conditions, and rising popularity of union organizing—that’s a recipe for young women to take charge.

Krempa says her family is inspired to see her continuing the union tradition. “My grandfather has been very vocal with me about unionizing, and keeps me in a positive mindset, because he went through strikes with his company years ago,” she says. “He says ‘it’s crazy to see you doing this, and you’re so young!’”

Read Jane’s full story here.

Emma Hinchliffe
emma.hinchliffe@fortune.com
@_emmahinchliffe

The Broadsheet, Fortune’s newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women, is coauthored by Kristen Bellstrom, Emma Hinchliffe, and Claire Zillman. Today’s edition was curated by Emma Hinchliffe

ALSO IN THE HEADLINES

- Next up. In a new interview with a German paper, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon played down speculation that the candidate to succeed him as chief executive will most likely be a woman. (Chase co-CEOs Marianne Lake and Jennifer Piepszak are seen as top contenders.) "We have people that could take over the reins of this bank tomorrow, including both men and women,” he said. The board "won’t install a woman as CEO simply to appoint a woman." Fortune

- Awards ready. Awards season is getting started, and with it, a new set of milestones and trivia. Jane Campion is a favorite to earn a best director nomination for her film The Power of the Dog. That would make her the first woman to be nominated in the category twice; she was last nominated for The Piano almost three decades ago. The Hollywood Reporter

- Move fast. Spring Health's $2 billion valuation made founder April Koh, 29, the youngest woman to lead a unicorn startup. But the mental health company has faced challenges, with employees telling Insider that their own mental health suffered because of a fast-paced culture. Business Insider

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: SaaS company Intercom hired former Smartsheet CMO Anna Griffin in the same role and Cheree McAlpine as general counsel. Neiman Marcus Group named Natalie Lockhart SVP, strategy and execution; Chris Demuth SVP, people services, ESG, belonging, and corporate philanthropy; and Tiffin Jernstedt SVP, chief communications officer. Automation Anywhere cofounder Neeti Mehta Shukla is now its social impact officer. 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

- Reserving the vote. President Joe Biden's choice to nominate Fed chairman Jerome Powell for a second term (rather than put forward a new nominee, like Lael Brainard, who is his choice for vice chair) is receiving some pushback from the left. Sen. Elizabeth Warren says she plans to vote against Powell's confirmation. She cites "failures on regulation, climate and ethics." New York Times

- Market mania. Women are investing in the stock market at higher rates than ever—67% of women now say they're investing outside of retirement accounts, compared to 44% in 2018. The pandemic and cultural events like GameStop and meme stocks are drawing women to the markets, Fidelity finds. Fortune

- Limited programming. The Taliban's Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice issued new rules for the media in Afghanistan, one of which bars women from appearing in television dramas and entertainment shows. Women are still able to appear in news programming. CNN 

ON MY RADAR

King Richard and reclaiming Richard Williams's legacy Vox

Equal opportunity extremism: How women seized the moment in California’s far-right radical politics Sacramento Bee

The end of Insecure, an artwork and a phenomenon The New Yorker

PARTING WORDS

"If you keep harassment shrouded, that allows harassment to continue."

-Actor Eliza Dushku on why she decided to speak up about sexual harassment on the set of the CBS series Bull. She testified before Congress about mandatory arbitration last week. 

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