August 12, 2022

Thousands of workers at Amazon warehouses and Starbucks stores across the country have voted to unionize in recent months, potentially reversing decades of declining union membership in the U.S. This video takes a close look at the history of unions in postwar America, examining the reasons why service industries largely stayed unorganized and how that could change in the coming years. 

Questions:

  1. Why did union membership start to decline in the 1970s and 1980s?
  2. Do you think U.S. legislators Continue reading
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July 12, 2022

Since the start of the summer travel season, air carriers have canceled thousands of flights as they grapple with bad weather, high fuel costs, and rampant inflation. Along with these problems, airlines are also encountering increased resistance from one of their most important groups of employees: pilots. Faced with large workloads and an unpredictable post-pandemic environment, pilots are demanding substantial wage increases as well as quality of life benefits from their employers. 

According to analysts, airlines are likely to Continue reading

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June 22, 2022

Americans traveled in droves over the busy Father’s Day and Juneteenth holiday weekend, leading to widespread delays and cancellations at airports despite the best efforts of carriers. All told, airlines canceled more than 5,000 flights over the weekend while almost a third of all arriving flights on Friday were delayed. Travelers experienced similar moments of chaos at airports over Memorial Day weekend, reflecting an industry struggling to return to normal after the pandemic.

According to airlines, poor weather and high Continue reading

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April 8, 2022

The e-commerce giant Amazon is the second largest private employer in the U.S., with more than 1 million employees working in fulfillment centers and corporate offices around the country. For years, labor activists have sought to unionize this enormous workforce, but past efforts largely failed to gain traction. That may be starting to change, however, if recent developments at New York’s largest Amazon warehouse are any indication. 

Last week, staff at the JFK8 facility on Staten Island voted 2,654 Continue reading

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October 1, 2020

Back in March, airlines received $25 billion in relief so that workers could stay on the payroll as the coronavirus pandemic caused a massive disruption in world travel. But with that money now spent, major carriers had been hoping for another round of economic stimulus from the federal government as demand for travel remains low. Legislators have been unable to come to an agreement so far, however, leading American Airlines and United Airlines to announce that more than 32,000 employees Continue reading

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July 21, 2020

Yesterday, tens of thousands of workers across the U.S. walked off their jobs in support of the “Strike for Black Lives.” According to organizers, the strike was held to bring greater attention to issues like income inequality and systemic racism in both the private and public sectors. The nationwide event included members from labor unions and political groups such as the Service Employees International Union, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, American Federation of Teachers, and dozens of other organizations. 

The Continue reading

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October 29, 2019

In mid-September, nearly 50,000 General Motors employees represented by the United Auto Workers union went on strike after failing to reach an agreement with the company. Staffers walked picket lines for more than a month as they fought for improved wages, benefits, and job security. Then last week the standoff finally ended as the union struck a deal with management that partially gave in to some of the workers’ demands.

For instance, employees are now guaranteed a 3 percent pay Continue reading

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September 17, 2019

On Monday around 48,000 General Motors employees walked off their jobs and onto picket lines after the United Auto Workers failed to reach a new agreement with the company. Along with improved pay and health benefits, the striking workers also want to keep plants open to ensure job security. “Our members have been very clear about what they will and will not accept from this contract,” said UAW Vice President Terry Dittes. “We are standing up for fair wages, we Continue reading

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April 18, 2019

The grocery chain Stop & Shop began in 1892 as a small store in Boston’s North End neighborhood. Since then the company has expanded to more than 450 locations throughout the Northeastern United States. Last Thursday, however, operations at many of those stores were thrown off course as more than 31,000 Stop & Shop employees went on strike. After negotiations over a new contract reached a stalemate, members of five local United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) unions walked out Continue reading

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February 19, 2019

In 2017 Amazon announced that it would open a second headquarters somewhere in the U.S., setting off a bidding war between cities all across the country. Then this past November the e-commerce giant shared its decision with the public: the new HQ would be split in two between New York City and Arlington, Virginia. But while many politicians and business leaders celebrated the announcement, activists, unions, and some local lawmakers in New York blasted the decision to give Amazon nearly Continue reading

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