For the past year Capital & Main has produced a wide range of coverage of Janus v. AFSCME. Below we offer a comprehensive primer on the case, its origins and its potential implications.
Co-published by AlterNet
A Supreme Court case that could topple the power of California’s unions has been a perfect storm gathering for 40 years.
The biggest reason for the decline of unions, says author Rick Wartzman, is because “companies have set out to beat the hell out of them. Corporate America has really ground down organized labor through means both legal and illegal.”
As workplace protections have come under attack, California has created labor-organizing models to resist attempts to erode labor standards and impose right-to-work measures.
If legendary labor activist Joe Hill were alive today — and some contend that he is — he would have plenty to say about the state of the American worker. And the country, if it listened, would have plenty to learn. Hill, who was executed in Utah 100 years ago this month, was an unapologetically […]
For the past seven days America has watched a government shutdown unfold, courtesy of the Tea Party-controlled House of Representatives – a moment of political vaudeville more worthy of the description “circus” than “theater.” Beginning this week, however, we may be in for the start of a truly Grand Guignol event befitting the Halloween season. […]
Lazy. Out of touch. Greedy. Self-serving. Thuggish. Chances are you’ve heard a union member or leader called one of these things (and in all likelihood, more than once), and it made your blood boil. The unfortunate truth is that misconceptions, stereotypes and all-out lies seem to be dominating the public discussion and perception of labor […]
Why are so many Americans wary of labor unions? Unions are, after all, good for everyone who works for a living. In occupations with a high rate of unionization all the workers get paid more, even employees who aren’t in a union. As rates of unionization have fallen, so has compensation. One might expect unions […]
Last Saturday’s commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington spotlighted the power of grassroots activism. But it was no exercise in nostalgia. Activists are pushing for social change across the nation, and I discuss dozens of these campaigns in my new book, The Activist’s Handbook, Second Edition: Winning Social Change in the 21st Century, officially […]
Why Labor Organizing Should be a Civil Right: Rebuilding a Middle-Class Democracy by Enhancing Worker Voice, by Moshe Z. Marvit and Richard D. Kahlenberg, was released last year to critical and academic acclaim but not nearly enough attention. The book, whose authors are both fellows at the progressive think tank the Century Foundation, lays out […]
You’ve probably heard it from a colleague, or maybe from a friend or family member: “Kids these days… they’re just too ambivalent to care about labor unions or workers’ rights.” But as it turns out, that’s just not true. Young people are actually big fans of unions. Fully 61 percent of young people view labor […]
Gallup and Pew concur: Just over one-half of Americans approve of labor unions. In late June, the Pew Research Center released the results of its biennial poll on unions and corporations, and reported that 51 percent of Americans had a favorable view of unions—up from just 41 percent in 2011, the last time Pew popped […]
As the number of American public- and private-sector workers belonging to a labor union reached an all-time low this past year, many of us sat on the sidelines scratching our collective heads, wondering why. Academics and economists will say it’s because the type of work Americans do is changing and, as we shift from a […]
How a union of Yale employees aligned itself with community activists and won control of a beleaguered city. This article and illustration originally appeared in The American Prospect. Major Ruth became a civic leader because he made a promise to his neighbor, Brian Wingate. Both had moved to the Beaver Hills section of New Haven, […]
There are many similarities between the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s and the union movement that preceded it in the early decades of the 20th century. Both met with hostility, opposition, and violence. Yet today we look back on the former with gratitude and admiration, while the latter is either forgotten or […]
For all the talk of saving and rebuilding the middle class, no public official from the President on down has mentioned the U-word. The U-word? “Unions.” From the 1930s through the ’70s, unions turned working-class jobs into middle-class jobs. Hourly wage earners organized themselves into unions that could fight for livable wages, health and retirement […]
Last week’s annual national union membership numbers were eye-opening, and well, pretty depressing. The relentless attacks on unions nationwide have caused overall union density to drop to a startlingly low 11.3 percent. The share of union members as part of the workforce is the lowest it’s been in 97 years. That’s not just bad news […]
When I started Unionosity, my goal was to provoke discussion about important workplace and economic issues. Work is such a significant part of our lives – many of us spend the majority of our waking hours at it. Yet we don’t talk enough about what it means and how we can do it better — […]
The New Republic’s Richard Yeselson has a perceptive piece on that publication’s website that’s worth reading before our collective amnesia allows us to forget all about Governor Scott Walker’s recent electoral triumph. “Not With a Bang, But a Whimper: The Long, Slow Death Spiral of America’s Labor Movement” is, as you might surmise, another in […]