It’s election day and Cloud 9 has placed pamphlets in the break room encouraging employees to vote for anti-union candidates. Cloud 9 knows that unionization could result in much higher labor costs, so they spend that money to encourage workers to not form a union. This form of managerial opposition is part of the explanation for the decline in unionization rates in the United States.
Superstore — Employee Appreciation
After a recent uptick in the amount of union activity in the store, the corporate office has decided to institute Employee Appreciation Day. Jonah is quick to point out that this particular day always seems to occur whenever they are trying to get people to sign union card. He advocates for the union instead and mentions that joining a union may provide more long-term benefits, but Amy and Dina work to convince the employees that a union is unnecessary.
Superstore — Union Busting
One way firms respond to increased union efforts is through managerial opposition. Because it’s illegal to fire workers who try to unionize, firms may use alternative tactics to discourage the formation of a union. An employee has been talking about forming a union and the district manager lets Amy know that the corporate office is considering shutting down stores, and a unionized workforce would make it more likely their store could be shut down. Amy, Dina, and Jonah meet in a backroom to discuss ways to stop the unionization from proceeding.
Superstore — Union Memos
The lights are off in the store, but Dina and Glenn are searching for the manual override code to get power back online. While searching, Glenn goes through a series of older memos from the corporate office about how to keep union activity minimized. While stores cannot legally stop employees from unionizing, they have an incentive to keep unionization efforts at a minimum to keep labor costs low. The managerial opposition hypothesis is one explanation for low unionization in the US and primarily focuses on firms taking a proactive role in discouraging unionization.
Superstore — Handheld Automation
Corporate has created new devices for customers to use that will allow them to look up where items are located in the store, scan the items, and pay for their total. The employees quickly point out that the device essentially replaces the workers and they are left wondering what that means for them. Dina tries to point out the relationship between ATMs and bank tellers, although she doesn’t have it exactly right.
At the end of the clip, Amy points out that corporate has also asked the stores to cut back employee hours, which implies that the new machines are replacing some of the labor in the store.
Superstore — Gift Wrapping
Garrett is on gift wrapping duty at the store and he hides his inability to wrap gifts under the guise that it’s inefficient. While economists may see gift giving, in general, as inefficient, gift giving inefficiencies are scattered throughout television and movies (Blackish, Brooklyn 99, John Mulaney’s Stand Up, Life in Pieces, and Old School). In this scene, Garrett focuses on the wasted time that it takes, beyond just getting the gift, that goes into wrapping a gift only for the wrapping to be destroyed later.
Superstore — Incentives
Cloud 9 has divided employees into two teams to see who can sell the most stuff by the end of the day. The winning team will earn a pizza party, but Glen is surprised that employees aren’t participating. He didn’t reveal that the winning team also gets $100 per member, which is a much better incentive for the employee. As Amy notes, for incentives to be effective, they need to be announced before the start of the competition.
Superstore — Union Buster
After Amy and Jonah contact the corporate office to secure paid maternity leave for Cheyenne, the main office sends a union buster to the store to try and talk the employees out of forming a union. These union busters are paid to help dispel the idea that unions can benefit workers.
Superstore — Phone Innovation
It’s back to school time and everyone has flooded the store to buy calculators, notebooks, dictionaries, and planners, but these are all items that come with a smartphone so it makes those products obsolete for most individuals. Creative destruction occurs when new innovations replace old industries.
Superstore — Union Scare
The team is trying to donate days off so Cheyenne can have her baby since Cloud 9 doesn’t offer maternity leave. Jonah finds out how much profit Cloud 9 made the year before and calls corporate with Amy to try and see if they can give Cheyenne maternity leave. At the mere mention of other company’s with unions having paid maternity leave, corporate sends a union buster to try and talk the store out of organizing.