To the surprise of many, union campaigns at iconic companies like Amazon, Starbucks, and Apple gained traction in the 2020s. Unionization has also surged – with less fanfare and over a longer period – among young, college-educated workers in higher education, journalism, health care, and the non-profit sector. The new labor organizing is still too modest to reverse the longstanding decline in union density, and it faces intransigent employer opposition. But it offers hope of union revival, led by a new political generation with an anti-capitalist and intersectionality-based worldview. That generation spearheaded Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, and the Sanders campaigns – and now they are organizing unions.
Read Ruth at Dissent Magazine on workers’ fight for a union at Amazon warehouses on Staten Island.
RUTH MILKMAN is a sociologist of labor and labor movements who has written on a variety of topics involving work and organized labor in the United States, past and present. Her most recent books are Immigrant Labor and the New Precariat and On Gender, Labor and Inequality. She is currently Distinguished Professor of Sociology and History at the CUNY Graduate Center and at the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, where she chairs the Labor Studies Department. For more information see ruthmilkman.info.
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