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We Need A Modern Labor Movement That Brings Good Jobs

Liz Shuler
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Flying into Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport recently, I spotted the ramp workers on the tarmac, busily unloading bags and doing safety checks on the plane in 115 degree heat. Most passengers were anxious to deplane, ready to head to baggage claim, not giving a second thought to the work happening all around them to make their journey happen.

Working people are re-evaluating pre-COVID employment and refusing to accept a substandard job. As a result, wages are rising, schedules are more human and benefits are increasing. Millions of new jobs for working people, mostly unionized, will result from the $3.5 trillion budget blueprint moving through Congress. The latest Gallup poll found that 68% of Americans — and 77% of people 18-34 — have a positive opinion of unions. And the devastating pandemic taught America that without nurses, first responders, teachers, grocery clerks, truck drivers, postal workers and essential heroes, we’d be utterly nowhere.

These positive developments are not sufficient to right our economic ship. For decades, our economy has undermined working people. Income inequality remains at an all-time high. The middle class is hollowed out and harder than ever to break into.

This economic system, neither sustainable nor fair, creates instability and threatens democracy. Whether out of self-interest, moral outrage, or both, it is in no one’s interest for this slide to continue.

Welcome, then, a modern labor movement.

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