A new generation of workers is not willing to work for employers who do not offer the kind of protections and peace of mind that comes with a union contract.
These workers, many of them young workers having just entered the workforce, are standing united against jobs that are low paying and offer no security and little to no benefits.
Others, who are outside of the workforce because they haven’t yet joined it or are between jobs, aren’t willing to work someplace that doesn’t respect their hard work. They aren’t willing to work at-will and without the guarantees that come with a union contract.
We’re seeing this happen often in the relatively young cannabis industry, where groups of workers made up mainly of young people are organizing their workplaces across the country.
And the effects of the pandemic have only intensified worker activism. Jobs where workers interact with customers or work in close quarters with coworkers in manufacturing spaces now carry health risks — both for workers and their families. These workers, and job hunters interested in joining these industries, are demanding the protections that come with union membership.
In addition to the heightened presence of union stories in the news this fall, young people are seeing more and more conversation around the tangible benefits of union membership than they have in the past.
Reuters reported this summer that union workers make more on average than non-union workers, and the gap between the two widened significantly between 2013 and 2019. Shortly after, an analysis from the University of Minnesota found unions are central to bolstering the American middle class and that union membership is an often overlooked measure to fighting poverty throughout the nation.
With facts like these, it’s no wonder union approval is at 68 percent, its highest reading in polls since 1965.
“Workers are right to think the ball is in their court,” Adam Seth Litwin, a professor of industrial and labor relations at Cornell University, told Bloomberg. “They need to take a really big bite of the apple right now.”
Local 152 has always fought for worker justice, and we’re glad this new generation of workers will settle for nothing less than the dignity and security a union job provides. We will welcome them into the union family and together fight for the fairness all working people deserve.
— President Brian String