The US is experiencing a historic surge in labor activism, with union representation petitions filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) up 53% in FY2022, and unfair labor practice charges increasing by nearly 20% since last year.
Nearly three times as many US workers went on strike in the first half of 2022 compared to the same time last year. Labor activism is backed by the White House with President Biden identifying himself as “the most pro-union White House ever.” In addition, the American public’s support for unions is the highest it has been since 1965.
Key trends to Watch
While this phenomenon has touched many sectors, the retail/quick service restaurant (QSR) sectors have been a particular focus for organized labor. The most successful organizing activity has been at the single-unit level, where the team of employees is small and in close contact on a regular basis. Efforts to organize a single retail or QSR location can often stir interest among employees at other company sites, creating a domino effect.