Unions are making a comeback, says labor organizers

As unions at some of the largest corporations like Amazon and Starbucks gain traction, it may be a sign that workers are standing up for their rights as they join the momentum created by the Great Resignation, Fortune reported April 26. 

Currently, labor unions have the highest public support they've had since the 1960s according to a fall 2021 Gallup poll, and many cases are making it to the front page of news. With this renewed momentum, labor organizers Erica Smiley and Sarita Gupta told Fortune that they prefer to call the Great Resignation the Great Awakening as they argue it has been a moment of clarity for many workers to turn around and demand more. 

"People aren't waiting for the labor laws to shift and change. They're speaking to the lived realities that they're contending with, the real challenges, and beginning to organize," said Ms. Gupta. 

Ms. Smiley argued that employment protection laws are currently outdated, and unions allow a way to change that. 

"It's a question of how can we allow the majority of people to negotiate their economic relationships, including employment relationships?" said Ms. Smiley in Fortune. "The legal framework that protects those negotiations can't just be based on how work was organized in 1935 [when the National Labor Relations Act passed into law]. It has to be based on how work is organized now."

She also says that bargaining is an exercise of democracy: "Collective bargaining is a practice that allows people to practice democracy and be a part of everyday standard setting that's not just voting once a year."

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