American unions are gentrifying | The New Economist


Will the revival of unionization among the educated and intellectual professions be enough to reverse the decline?


American unions are gentrifying The strike, which affects the entire University of California system, began on November 14 and involved around 48,000 people ©SIPA

On December 1, the weather in Los Angeles was unusually gloomy, with drizzle and freezing air. This may have contributed to the lack of energy among picket participants on the UCLA campus. Instead of listening to enthusiastic speeches, the graduate students were fussing, chatting among themselves. In the middle of the crowd, the organizers had set up a screen on which was projected a videoconference that hardly anyone was watching. And yet, the strikers were clear about what they wanted. “People are working 60 to 80 hours a week, you know, in total,” said Sammy Feldblum, a geography PhD student among the strikers. And all we ask is to be able to live in an apartment reasonably close to the university. We’re not asking for anything crazy.”

The strike, which involves the entire University of California system, began Nov. 14 and had approximately 48,000 participants, mostly graduate students (lecturers), teaching assistants and other non-permanent researchers. Tens of thousands of undergraduate students have been deprived of courses. On December 9, some 12,000 strikers agreed to return to work, having agreed to a tentative agreement in late November. But 36,000 of them are still on strike. This is the biggest labor action that has taken place in America in years. But it’s also an indicator of how unions are changing in America.

“The strike, which affects the entire University of California system, began on November 14 and involved approximately 48,000 people”

In the past, unions were associated with middle-aged, muscular men who stood in front of factories. Today, the most active unions in America represent graduate workers who wear white collars (literally, in the case of university lab workers). as unions have evolved, so have their strategies, […]

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