Nick Novak on Wisconsin’s Small Uptick in Union Applications, Mostly at Starbucks Locations

MADISON – While union membership rates in Wisconsin continue to slip, labor advocates point to a surge in new union petitions this year as evidence that workers want a change. Eleven new union petitions have been filed with the NLRB over the first four months of 2022 – one more than all of 2021.

Seven of those came from workers at Starbucks. But, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) spokesman Nick Novak argues the higher number of union petitions represent “a very small part” of the state’s economy.

In an interview, he noted wages have been rising and employers are offering more flexibility and benefits even as union membership has been declining in the state over the last decade.

“I think that’s because employers care about their employees and they want to do right by them,” he said. “And they’re listening to their workers, they’re listening to what their wants and needs are, and they’re really trying to be as flexible as they can to make sure that not only can they still run a successful, profitable business, but really take care of their number one resource, which is their workers.”

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