The Century Foundation
The American Prospect
Just over 10 percent of workers are unionized, down from 35 percent in the mid-1950s. Potentially, though, a wave of Democratic victories in 2018 and 2020 could give labor groups a chance to turn things around. With an eye toward that moment, labor’s leading strategists are coming together to build a program that avoids the mistakes of the past.
“The original, Southern desire to preserve an exploited, economically deprived non-white agricultural labor force pinned to the bottom of the social and economic hierarchy continues to manifest itself full force,” Law Professor Juan Perea of Loyola University said. “The only difference today is now it’s brown and black people.”
The Jewish Daily Forward
Unions exist in only a handful of schools, all of them Conservative movement-affiliated or pluralistic, and the number is dropping. Over the past year, three Conservative Jewish day schools have effectively eliminated their teachers unions. Perelman Jewish Day School, an elementary school just a few miles away from Barrack, and the Solomon Schechter School of Greater Boston have both declined to negotiate with their teachers unions.
The Washington Post
“We are a small part of the 150 million Americans who work for a living,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in his keynote address Monday at the labor federation's convention in Los Angeles. “We cannot win economic justice only for ourselves, for union members alone. It would not be right and it’s not possible. All working people will rise together, or we will keep falling together.”
The National Labor Relations Act protects the right of employees to join together to improve their working conditions. The collective power of union membership is designed to balance the power of employees with that of employers, who can increase their power by incorporating or forming partnerships. Employees can also be more powerful together by filing class action lawsuits to enforce their rights under employment laws other than the NLRA.
The American Prospect
Faced with the very real threat of extinction, unions have largely put collective bargaining on the back burner, and instead must try to remind American workers of the basic concept of worker solidarity. “We start from the point of view that, because so few people are in unions these days, very few people have personal experience with collective power,” explains Karen Nussbaum, the executive director of Working America.
Truthout Op-Ed, Truthout
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The Nation and ACSblog
Recent events have begun to cause labor activists to seriously consider if a hamstrung NLRB, and emboldened employers, could potentially inspire some unions to push the limits of labor law to try alternative means that are outside the law or if they can and should borrow the strategies used by the NAACP and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to expand civil rights.