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How a nationwide spike in union organizing is playing out in Connecticut, from Starbucks to schools

Protesters march in Seattle during the "Fight Starbucks' Union Busting" rally and march on April 23, 2022.
Jason Redmond
AFP via Getty Images
Protesters march in Seattle during the "Fight Starbucks' Union Busting" rally and march on April 23, 2022.

Union election petitions are up 57% over the last year, and "Starbucks petitions account for nearly a quarter of all petitions filed since January," reports NPR labor and workplace correspondent Andrea Hsu.

This hour, we hear from Hsu about this momentum, and from one Starbucks employee and union organizer in West Hartford. The Corbin's Corner location was the first in our state to file for a union election last month.

Flyers announce unionizations effort on the community bulletin board at the Corbin's Corner Starbucks in West Hartford, Conn.

Plus, teachers at Common Ground High School in New Haven voted 62-8 to unionize last year. We'll get the latest on where collective bargaining stands in the wake of teacher cuts and outcry among students and faculty. School administrators insist the cuts are budget-related, and "deeply regret any appearance that this process is related to union organizing."

Hsu reports that since 2012, "the share of petitions coming from manufacturing companies has fallen by about half." So what are the conditions driving this broader push for organized labor?

Later in the program: Wednesday marks the final day of the legislative session, and prison reform advocates are calling for "a comprehensive and transparent COVID-19 plan." We check in with the Katal Center for Equity, Health, and Justice about the #FreeThemNowCT campaign.


  • Andrea Hsu: Labor and Workplace Correspondent, NPR
  • Kuzco Gong: Partner, Starbucks; Union Organizer
  • Emily Schmidt: Chemistry and Physics Teacher, Common Ground High School; Member, UAW Local 2110
  • Chelsea Farrell: Organizer, UAW Local 2110
  • Kenyatta Muzzanni: Director of Organizing, Katal Center for Equity, Health, and Justice

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Katie is a producer for Connecticut Public Radio's news-talk show Where We Live. She has previously worked for CNN and News 8-WTNH. She enjoys Victorian novels and walks with her dog Sonny.
Lucy is the Executive Producer and Host of Connecticut Public's morning talk show, 'Where We Live.' She’s a longtime public radio reporter covering several beats including immigration, juvenile justice and child welfare issues, education, veterans affairs and the military.