Happy Labor Day: Are unions dead?

Happy Labor Day: Are unions dead?

Rich Yeselson worked in the labor movement as a strategist and researcher for contract and organizing campaigns for over 20 years.  “Fortress Unionism” an essay he wrote in 2013 for Democracy about the decline of the postwar labor movement and its future prospects, has been widely read, discussed and contested among labor activists and thinkers. For Labor Day, 2014, he seemed like a good person to ask about the challenges and opportunities for American unions today. What follows is a lightly edited transcript of a conversation we had over e-mail.

Are unions dead?


Explain, please.

Their power has declined enormously, obviously, but unions, especially the largest ten or so, are still significant American institutions. Their national political influence is more defensive than pro-active, but unions played a big role in strategizing and passing the Affordable Care Act, and recent executive orders indicate that they are still able to win some advances for their members and workers generally, at least when Democrats have some power.

Continue reading →

Commenting Policy

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse.

You may use HTML in your comments. Feel free to review the full list of allowed HTML here.