Many Americans are critical of labor unions. They see unions as organizations that keep bad employees on the job. Or they see them as controlling who gets on the job at all. We can and do dispute those characterizations.
But what most Americans forget is that in addition to negotiating wages and hours and job security, unions play a pivotal role in protecting their members from hazardous working conditions. Unions tend to form where conditions are at their worst.
This shocking article describes how 54,000 working people have died from corona virus because of their jobs: taking care of sIck and elderly people. Many of these workers are minority and immigrants, and many are women.
Strong unions help make safer workplaces. And this country has a tradition of treating jobs dominated by women helpers — in daycare, preschool, rehabilitation centers, home care, and nursing homes terribly. These workplaces need labor unions, and they need strong governmental regulation. The free labor market is killing thousands of people.
Read the NY Times Opinion, “When You Are Paid 13 Hours for a 24-Hour Shift”