West Minnesota Area Labor Council/Red River Valley, AFL-CIO

 

Support for the labor movement is the highest in nearly half a century, yet only one in 10 workers are members of unions today. How can both be true?

Ivanka Trump took the stage at CES on Tuesday to muted reception. Forty minutes later, she left to robust applause.

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President Trump released a $4.8 trillion budget proposal on Monday that includes a familiar list of deep cuts to student loan assistance, affordable housing efforts, food stamps and Medicaid, reflecting Mr. Trump’s election-year effort to continue shrinking the federal safety net. The proposal, which is unlikely to be approved in its entirety by Congress, includes additional spending for the military, national defense and border enforcement, along with money for veterans, Mr.

Union leaders and labor rights advocates applauded the Democrat-controlled U.S. House for passing landmark legislation Thursday night that supporters have called one of the most notable efforts to expand workers' rights in several decades. "Make no mistake, this is the most significant step Congress has taken to strengthen labor laws in the United States in 85 years and a win for workers everywhere," said AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, declaring the measure "the labor movement's number one legislative priority this year."

The Republican-controlled National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ended 2019 by rolling back another round of Obama-era regulations and handing down a number of pro-employer decisions. One of those rulings restricts workers from wearing union buttons and other pro-labor insignia. The Organization United for Respect at Walmart (Our Walmart) had challenged a company policy limiting the size of union buttons for employees of the retail corporation. The group seemingly had momentum on its side.

In the 1930s, at the time of the writing of the Wagner Act—the law which grants workers the right to form unions and collectively bargain— union organizing took place during shift changes on factory floors and over beers in union halls. The law protected workers from retaliation for this type of in-real-life organizing, and it still does. But times have changed, and often the only points of contact for workers at any given company are email, Slack, and Facebook groups.