Biden made a great statement on labor rights

President Joe Biden made a great statement last Sunday about labor union rights.

He called attention to what the law requires, as well as certain basic facts.

That may not seem like much.  But it has been decades since any President has been willing to speak up for labor.

Republicans from Reagan to Trump have been hostile to organized labor.  Democrats from Carter to Obama have been indifferent.  This has been a disaster.

Labor unions, as Biden said, made possible the middle class prosperity the United States (and many other countries) enjoyed following World War Two.  They also were essential to electing Democrats.

As unions have declined, so has the middle class.  And so has the Democratic Party. 

Recent public opinion polls indicate that 65 percent of Americans approve of labor unions, and 48 percent of non-union workers would join a union if they could.  

But only 10.3 percent of American workers actually belong to unions.  It would take a long time to get back to the 34.8 percent of the work force that belonged to unions in 1954.

Biden’s statement, without mentioning names, referred to labor union efforts to organize Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama.  This sets him against Jeff Bezos, who is possibly the world’s richest man and also the owner of the Washington Post.

If Biden is willing to make an enemy of Bezos, I have to respect him. I hope he doesn’t walk back his statement.

LINKS

“It Hasn’t Happened in My Lifetime”: A Labor Historian on Biden’s Pro-Union Push, an interview of Nelson Lichtenstein for Mother Jones.

Biden’s Support for Unionizing Amazon is a BFD by Timothy Noah for The New Republic.  [Hat tip to Steve from Texas]

Here’s Why 2021 Could Be a Big Year for Labor Unions by Alicia Wallace for Portside.

Support of labor unions is at 65 percent—here’s what’s behind the rise by Abigail Johnson Hess for CNBC.

Why workers need the Protecting the Right to Organize Act by Celine McNicolas, Margaret Poydock and Lynne Rhinehart for the Economic Policy Institute.

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