The Global Rise of Workers Unions

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The pandemic exposed, in many cases, how people are deemed less important than profit margins. Unions hope to empower workers.

  • In the US, there have been successful trade union formations within major companies including Amazon, Starbucks, Apple stores, and mass media company Condé Nast.
  • This marks a reversal in a decades-long trend of steady decline in union membership. Not since the 1930s has there been such a large spike in union uptake.
  • The rising costs of living has played into this. However, the largest reckoning came with the pandemic which exposed the precarity of jobs in many sectors.
  • Where people were able to remain at work, they were not always protected. At one large Amazon depot in New York, the JFK8, conditions were poor enough for workers to take a stand.
  • This is particularly notable in our service based economy. Labor is the most expensive component of most businesses with companies building their models around high worker turnover.
  • Workers have felt a loss of power, especially with the increasing sophistication of technology replacing humans in many instances. Perhaps a trend for unionization will lead to other successes.
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