Labor unions are having a moment. We explore why and what it means for the future of work
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The last few years have seen changes in the workplace. The coronavirus pandemic opened a world of remote work. It also led to layoffs, unemployment and uncertainty.
Amid all of this, and maybe because of it, labor unions are having a moment. From Starbucks and Amazon to actors and writers in Hollywood to autoworkers, employees are pushing for more of a say in their working conditions and future.
Of course, labor unions pushing for better conditions is not new. What is new is the public support. About 70% of the public supports labor unions, that compares to under 50% a decade ago.
Still, despite small growth in some areas, overall union membership has continued to decline for decades.
On the next Charlotte Talks, we discuss public support and union membership over time, draw a throughline across recent labor disputes, and put this moment in labor history in perspective.
Paul Clark, professor of labor and employment relations at Penn State University
David Zonderman, professor of history at NC State University