In 1970 unions represented about 30% of private-sector workers. Today that number is just 6%. As unions declined over the past half-century, workers suffered. They were paid poorly, they lost health care, retirement benefits and control over their schedules. Deaths of despair from drugs, alcohol and suicide surged among blue-collar workers. And the bosses, the fat cats? They got even fatter. CEO salaries went into orbit. After being pushed around and taking it on the chin for years, unions are back. They are a powerful force for equality, elevating the wages of underpaid non-union workers. UPS, Hollywood, Detroit automakers, Starbucks and other corporations are being challenged to raise wages and improve working conditions. Recorded in New York, NY on September 13, 2023.
Richard Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and currently a visiting professor at the New School in New York. The New York Times calls him “America’s most prominent Marxist economist.” He is the author of numerous books including Democracy at Work, Capitalism’s Crisis Deepens and Occupy the Economy with David Barsamian