The Conversation: Marick Masters on increased worker interest in unions

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Marick Masters, professor of business and adjunct professor of political science at Wayne State University, is included as an author in a series about the state of the global economy published by The Conversation. “US workers organized and took to the picket line in increased numbers in 2022 to demand better pay and working conditions, leading to optimism among labor leaders and advocates that they’re witnessing a turnaround in labor’s sagging fortunes…” he writes. “In total, there have been at least 20 major work stoppages involving upwards of 1,000 workers each in 2022, up from 16 in 2021, plus hundreds more that were smaller… As of 2021, union membership was at about the lowest level on record, at 10.3%. In the 1950s, over one in three workers belonged to a union. The deck is still heavily stacked against unions, with unsupportive labor laws and very few employers showing real receptivity to having a unionized workforce. Unions are limited in how much they can change public policy. Reforming labor law through legislation has remained elusive, and the results of the 2022 midterms are not likely to make it easier. Nonetheless, public support for labor is at its highest since 1965, with 71% saying they approve of unions, according to a Gallup poll in August. And workers themselves are increasingly showing an interest in joining them.”

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