Small Businesses with Young Workforces are Most Susceptible to Union Organizing.

Small businesses with young workforces are the most susceptible to union organizing activity.

Workers are joining unions at small businesses much quicker than at large ones.

But the large ones get all the media’s attention.

Every day we hear about unions at Amazon, Starbucks, Apple, Microsoft, Trader Joe’s.

Apparently, no one wants to hear about unions at the local mom & pop store, the corner auto body shop, the neighborhood restaurant, or everybody’s favorite golf course.

Way more unions are organizing those places than behemoth, multi-site, international tech giants.

It’s a lot easier to get 3 out of 5 mechanics or 17 out of 35 grocery workers to vote in favor of a union than to get 251 out of 500 warehouse employees to do the same.

This is partly why Starbucks union organizing has gone rampant.

Even though Starbucks has nearly 140,000 employees (down from pre-Covid 350,000) in over 30,000 stores worldwide, it operates like a local, corner, coffee shop with about 20 employees per store.

Business owners should expect labor organizing to stay high for years as a once-in-a-lifetime confluence of factors have created the perfect storm, including the use of social media, a younger workforce, a labor shortage, and the self-proclaimed “most pro-union President ever.”

Money doesn’t drive the youngest workers. Young people see unions as giving them a say in workplace culture, activities, and benefits.

Workers at smaller companies see organizing activity at the larger companies and are following their lead.

Unions know this and actively organize on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.

Unions used to have to host covert gatherings to reach potential new members. Now, a simple 20 second video can reach thousands of people instantly. And without the employer ever knowing.

The way of union organizing has changed forever. So too has the face of union membership.


Matt Austin is a nationwide management labor lawyer. Labor laws govern virtually all private-sector employees regardless of union membership. Proactive management of labor relations is critical to maintaining flexibility and increasing profit.

Matt also runs Austin Legal’s HR Legal Compliance Program that, for a small monthly fee, ensures HR decisions are protected by the attorney-client privilege.

Matt’s experience is deeply rooted in helping manage many aspects of his clients’ businesses. To effectively manage labor relations, he must also manage budgets, forecasts, new growth areas, and projected market corrections. High emotional intelligence is also critical to negotiating union contracts and to properly advise HR Legal Compliance members through the nuances of the law, its application to their companies, and how it will be received by employees.

You can reach Matt via email at