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Labor Union Influence Rising in Fulfillment Facilities

As the pandemic continues to impact U.S. frontline workers, union activity is growing across major companies like Mondelez and HelloFresh.

Furthermore, labor unions are increasingly seeking to organize workers in fulfillment facilities as brands add more employees to keep up with the growing demand of online sales, reported Vogue Business (Sept 17).

“People have shifted their shopping behaviors because of the pandemic, and they are increasingly dependent on warehouse and distribution in a way that they were never aware of in the past,” Chris Chafe, president of consulting firm Growth Squared said in the same article. “We now consider a much broader group of people essential workers.”

Recent Union Activity

Workers at Mondelez International Inc. finalized a strike this week after union members accepted a new four-year contract, reported The Wall Street Journal (Sept 20). The contract includes ratification bonuses, hourly wage increases and a higher company match for 401(k) contributions.

Meanwhile, more than 1,000 HelloFresh assembly line workers in Colorado and California are unionizing in response to poor workplace conditions. As Vice reported, if the workers vote to unionize, they would be the first in the booming meal-kit industry to do so (Sept 16).

“We want to break the cycle that so many of us at HelloFresh are under,” Mary Williams, a pack line worker at the Colorado site told Vice. “It’s a cycle of low-paying work and having to work back-to-back jobs. We believe that having a union will really change things.”

Public Support Grows

After several decades of steady decline, public support for unions is rising.

A recent poll by Gallup estimated that, as of 2020, 65% of all Americans approved of labor unions workers, including 83% of Democrats, 64% of independents and 45% of Republicans. Gallup’s figures indicate that public support for unions peaked in the 1950s, when as many as 75% of Americans agreed about the benefits of unionization.