By Nico Avalle
Source: Bon Appetit

Starbucks employees have successfully unionized over 250 branches of the international coffee chain. They’ve inspired workers at competitor Peet’s Coffee to organize too. The first Chipotle union has won its National Labor Relations Board vote in Lansing, Michigan. Trader Joe’s workers in Hadley, Massachusetts, have organized their store, becoming the quirky grocery chain’s first unionized employees. A string of Blank Street Coffee locations in New York City could be next.

Whether at McDonalds, Taco Bell, or the San Francisco airport, hospitality workers turned to collective action in an unprecedented way this year—disrupting the status quo in fast food and beyond.

It’s a welcome point of optimism for labor advocates. Union membership is still at a historic low, and only about 3 percent of food service workers are union members—one of the lowest rates in any industry. Even still, food workers have a long history of labor organizing—the United Farm Workers agricultural union is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year—and 2022 has been a high point for food unions and the movement they represent.

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