On Labor Day, we honor the American labor movement and the contributions that workers make to the strength and well-being of the country. It’s been more than 80 years since Congress passed the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) guaranteeing the right of private-sector workers to unionize and bargain collectively for better pay and working conditions.
Today, the NLRA still governs the relationship between organized labor and employers—but in 2015, less than 10 percent of American workers belonged to a union. That’s down from nearly 40 percent in the 1950s. With economic competition from overseas and technological innovation changing the value of physical labor in the United States, maybe it’s time to rethink how American model of labor relations.
Oren Cass joins Brian Anderson to discuss labor unions, past and present, and to offer an alternative model for organized labor. This 10 Blocks episode is the third based on City Journal’s special issue, The Shape of Work to Come. The discussion draws on Oren’s essay, “More Perfect Unions.”
Oren Cass is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, where he focuses on issues ranging from welfare to climate change. Previously, he was domestic policy director of Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.