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Science And Nature

Labor unions and workers deeper search for respect

Labor Day weekend is really a time for end-of-summer cookouts and final trips to beaches or outdoor pools. But as our Monitor Breakfast guest LizShuler, president of the AFL-CIO,reminded us on Sept. 1, its also any occasion for and about workers and the worthiness they bring to your world.

WHEN I escorted Ms.Shuleraround the area to meet up the reporters who have been present, she made a particular point of also giving focus on other folks there the often behind the scenes workers including waitstaff and a C-SPAN camerawoman whose face lit up at the greeting.

Through the breakfast, Ms.Shulerdescribed a couple of common themes she actually is hearing from workers she meets round the USA.

Theyre discussing respect. Theyre discussing dignity. Theyre discussing decent wages and healthcare and benefits. But theyre also discussing toxic work environments coming through the pandemic, how theyre being treated by customers, how theyre being treated by their bosses.

News coverage flowing out of the breakfast ranged from the job-market implications of green energy investments just passed by Congress (The Detroit News) to the implications for labor of coming midterm elections in the U.S. (The Washington Times). Plus her demand reforms to a legal environment that she says is becoming stacked against unions and the spirit of the 1935 National Labor Relations Act (Bloomberg Law).

Theres some ambivalence about unions in the U.S. They’re viewed favorably by an extraordinary 71% of adults in a fresh Gallup Poll. That doesnt mean the same share of workers are wanting to join a union themselves, however the number does may actually have risen, in accordance withan analysis of the along with other pollsby Eric Rosenbaum of CNBC.

When he surveyed world history in a book titled The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth, economist Benjamin Friedman of Harvard University found a pattern: Societies where prosperity was expanding and in widely shared ways also tended toward greater tolerance, cohesion, and democratic values. And vice versa.

That doesnt mean everyone agrees on the policies or institutions to best deliver those outcomes. Nonetheless it does claim that questions of worker dignity and fairness, which Ms.Shulerhighlighted, are worth wrestling with.

And, as she herself suggested by the end of the breakfast, we are able to also like a real day off, on Labor Day.

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