Michigan Advance: Marick Masters on modern labor movement

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President Joe Biden has promised to be “the most pro-union president you’ve ever seen.” And Michigan AFL-CIO President Ron Bieber couldn’t be happier. Bieber said he was stunned by a remarkable White House YouTube video in which Biden, without naming the company, strongly warned giant online retailer Amazon not to interfere with a union organizing drive at a company fulfillment center in Alabama. Marick Masters is a Wayne State University business professor and former director of the university’s labor programs. He said Biden has so many big issues to deal with — COVID, economic recovery, voting rights, infrastructure, border security, deteriorating relations with China and North Korea — that his labor agenda could get short-changed. “There’s a lot of merit in [the PRO Act],” he said. “We need to revisit labor laws written 80 years ago,” he said. But union-averse employers also are likely to find ways to subvert organizing drives even if Biden manages to outlaw some of their current tactics, he said. “Most employers are nonunion and want to remain so,” Masters said. “Companies have more money than unions do to fight organizing drives and they are more than willing to spend it.”

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