On the occasion of Labor Day this year, New York City received some welcome news courtesy of “The State of the Unions 2016,” the latest report from Murphy Professors Ruth Milkman and Stephanie Luce. Amid declining rates of unionization nationwide, the Big Apple remains strong, with over 25% of workers unionized.
According to the report, entitled “The State of the Unions,” NYC’s unionization rate has increased steadily over the past three years, from 21.5% in 2012 up to 25.5% last year.
From the New York Times:
About 70 percent of public-sector workers in the city and the state are union members, compared with just 19 percent of private-sector workers in the city and 13 percent in the rest of the state. Still, both of those rates are much higher than those of the nation, where less than 7 percent of private-sector workers — or about one in 15 — belong to unions.
All told, there are about 901,000 unionized workers living in New York City, slightly less than half the state’s total of 1.99 million. Only California has more — about 2.5 million in 2015, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. But that total amounted to only about one in six workers in California, compared with slightly less than one in four in New York State.
Read more at the NYTimes or see the full report here.
Photo by MTA Photos via flickr (CC-BY)
The latest report from Murphy Professors Ruth Milkman and Stephanie Luce, The State of the Unions: A Profile of Organized Labor in New York City, New York State, and the United States, continues to gain coverage, this time over at Al Jazeera. In an article by Murphy alum Ned Resnikoff (Unionization found to reduce pay discrimination, Al Jazeera, 9/7/15), the writer outlines some findings from the report:
The earnings gap between black and nonblack workers is smaller among union members than among members of the labor force as a whole, according to a report issued Friday from the City University of New York’s Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies.
The report found that unionized black workers make a median $21.62 per hour, roughly 10 percent less than unionized nonblack workers’ $24.04 hourly wage. Nonunion black workers earned a median $13.65 per hour, compared with nonunion nonblack workers’ $17.00 — a nearly 20 percent pay disadvantage. Continue reading Al Jazeera on Unionization, Pay Discrimination
July flies by, swirls of activity and here we are: the fight for fifteen changing the landscape for low-wage workers across the country, while the deaths of Sandra Bland and Samuel Dubose make it clear that #blacklivesmatter remains as pressing as ever.
- Greenpeace activists in Portland, Oregon suspended themselves from the St. John’s Bridge to obstruct a Shell icebreaking trip en route to the Arctic. After forcing the ship to turn around yesterday, today the activists were removed by law enforcement officers. (via DemocracyNow!)
- The NYTimes featured a long-ish read by Ian Urbina on “sea slaves,” workers from Cambodia and Myanmar sold into forced labor on fishing boats, fueled by “lax maritime labor laws and an insatiable global demand for seafood.” A horrifying and eye-opening article.
- Teamsters labor organizers are holding a vote to unionize Google Express, the low-wage workers who power the online empire’s shopping service (via MotherJones)
- The Guardian US became yet another media outlet to successfully unionize, when the newsroom staffers voted unanimously on Wednesday to unionize (via HuffPost)
- Chicago unions won a court ruling stating that pension cuts are unconstitutional
- Last week, 1000+ protesters headed to San Diego to demonstrate against the annual meeting of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Committee, “a conservative nonprofit organization known for drafting and sharing legislation amongst politicians, thus facilitating the collusion between corporations and government” (via WagingNonviolence)
- How can the labor movement support police unions in a time of police brutality and oppressive injustice, particularly against communities of color? According to Shawn Jude at Jacobin, we can’t.
- Trying to make sense of the New York State wage panel’s minimum wage proposal? Here’s an explainer, courtesy of the New York Times.
Photo by Twelvizm via flickr (CC-BY-ND).
Unions. What can we say — we love ‘em. And if recent news is any indication, the future’s looking (mostly) bright. Some developments from the past couple weeks…
- The Trans-Pacific Partnership was significantly set back in Congress as the House of Representative voted down fast-track authority (via Washington Post). Russell Berman over at the Atlantic credits none other than the American labor movement.
- Gawker Media became the first digital media company to be unionized (via CBS News)
- Contingent faculty members at Barnard have moved to organize (via Columbia Spectator)
- About 1,300 low-wage workers gathered in Detroit to celebrate minimum-wage hikes (via Al Jazeera)
- On Wednesday, the NYC City Council passed the Fair Chance Act, blocking private companies with 4+ employees from discriminating against applicants based on arrest or criminal record (via Colorlines)
- Internal training materials from Walmart reveal an unfortunately not-so-shocking anti-union bias. Steven Greenhouse describes in detail over at The Atlantic. (“How Walmart Persuades Its Workers Not to Unionize”)
Photo by Mike Mozart via flickr (CC-BY).
In “Millennials May Turn the Tide Toward Unionization,” featured in yesterday’s New York Times, Murphy Professor Ruth Milkman offers tempered optimism about Gawker Media staffers’ recent unionization and the potential for new labor organizing campaigns:
“…in the “new economy,” young workers are less likely to be unionized than their older counterparts. But that doesn’t seem to reflect workers’ own preferences. In fact recent surveys show that millennials — the dominant demographic at Gawker and other digital media companies — are far more often pro-union than their baby boomer counterparts.”
“To make a real difference in today’s economy, unions need to meet the needs of young, college-educated workers like those at Gawker as well as workers struggling at the bottom of the labor market, in industries like fast-food and retail. As inequality between the haves and have-nots continues to widen, organized labor is the one surviving institution that systematically pushes in the other direction.”
For the full column, visit the New York Times.
This month, service agents at the recently-merged American Airlines and US Airways held a combined union election, voting on whether or not to join CWA-IBT, a joint union of the Communications Workers of America and the Teamsters. The stakes were high: an upvote would mean the un-unionized American Airlines would join in US Airways workers’ collective bargaining. A downvote would have lost US Airways workers their contract.
Fortunately, 86% voted in favor of unionizing, empowering the existing union and finally granting union status to American Airlines employees, who tried unsuccessfully to unionize last year.
For more on this historic vote, check out Dave Jamieson’s article, American Airlines, US Airways Workers Vote Overwhelmingly To Join Union.
Photo by Matt Hintsa via flickr (CC-BY-NC-ND).