In the glory days of the American labor movement, when unions were strong and wages rose alongside productivity, “organized workers could cash that out as more free time,” says Aaron Benanav, assistant professor of sociology. “But for decades, workers haven’t even been getting that choice because, for the most part, productivity growth has ended up as higher profits and more inequality.”
"Pharmacy workers at CVS or Walgreens have been saddled with this exacerbation of workplace duties without a corollary growth of staffing," says Gretchen Purser, associate professor of sociology. "They feel very overwhelmed, very overburdened, very overworked. And none of that has come along with increased wages, either."
In his two-part essay on the Build Public Renewables Act (BPRA), Professor of Geography and the Environment Matthew Huber examines the labor question and assesses dubious campaign claims that BPRA is a climate victory.
Matthew Huber, professor of geography and the environment, calls the outcome of the strike a huge victory for the United Auto Workers and its workers. “It shows that when workers harness their collective power through strikes, they can force employers to give in to workers’ ambitious demands,” he says.
“There is a very different kind of spirit right now” in the UAW, Tod Rutherford, professor of geography and the environment, tells Christian Science Monitor. “People are just saying, ‘That’s enough. We’ve got to do something, make a stand.’”
When automakers faced bankruptcy in 2008, auto workers faced a tough decision: lose jobs or agree to contract changes that would help the companies get a federal bailout. The union chose the latter. “This was a concession they had to make in order to sustain the bailouts and have some kind of recovery,” says Tod Rutherford, professor of geography and the environment.
“The UAW…strike action is ultimately trying to realize one of the Biden Administration’s core policy goals and political selling points: you can have good, family-sustaining union jobs alongside climate action. The problem is the automakers see EV production as a way to trim labor costs and shift production to non-union plants,” says Matt Huber, professor of geography and the environment.
"Typically, you would expect a decrease in voter attendance because they’re [members of Parliament, MPs] working in the private sector. What you find among Labour MPs is no difference whatsoever. Among Conservative MPs you actually find that attendance increases when they have a second job. So they are more likely to attend votes," says Simon Weschle, associate professor of political science.
“Suicide was always a men’s issue,” says Michiko Ueda-Ballmer, associate professor of public administration and international affairs. During the pandemic, “suddenly, women’s suffering became visible.” For the first time, “the government was forced to confront an approach to suicide prevention that had previously focused exclusively on middle-aged men.”