Experts in the Media - With a union drive at Starbucks, reporters are calling Georgia Southern for insight and perspective

Experts in the Media - With a union drive at Starbucks, reporters are calling Georgia Southern for insight and perspective Experts in the Media - With a union drive at Starbucks, reporters are calling Georgia Southern for insight and perspective

July 15, 20222 min read

News in Atlanta is attracting from across the country. A Starbucks tucked away in the Ansley Mall in midtown Atlanta became the third of the popular chain's locations in the state to unionize. 


Georgia is not known a union strong state. 


But efforts are also on to see an Amazon warehouse in Gwinnett County organized as well. The union push in the Peach State is getting a lot of attention.



In a state that has been historically non-union, the battle to organize in Georgia has often been uphill. And in a workforce of 5 million, most efforts may have a minimal impact.

Yet in recent months, there have been public signs of union activism: among low-wage marginal workers, long-time unionists pushing for better contracts and — most visibly — upstart efforts in high-profile, non-factory settings like Starbucks and Apple.

Maybe it's the tight labor market that gives workers more leverage. After all, the historically low unemployment rate during a time of economic growth has many employers desperate for workers, less able to dictate terms and pay, said Anthony Barilla, Ph.D, economist at Georgia Southern University, who has researched labor issues. "There is a shortage of workers willing to work at the minimum wage or at a wage that simply doesn't mesh with the area's standard of living," he said. "When labor deserves a higher wage, organizing is simply a tool to be used in accomplishing this." July 07 - Atlanta Journal Constitution/Miami Herald



There's a lot of interest in the union push in Georgia and a lot of questions to ask:


  • Are perceptions of organized labor changing in the south?
  • What's motivating the union drives?
  • Is it time larger corporations took notice?


If you are a journalist looking to know more about this labor trend - then let us help.



Anthony Barilla, Ph.D., is an associate professor of economics. He has published research in the fields of labor economics, sports economics and the aspects of economic education.


He is available to speak with media about these recent developments - simply reach out to Georgia Southern Director of Communications Jennifer Wise at jwise@georgiasouthern.edu to arrange an interview today.



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