America’s Unions Are Getting Stronger

By: Anneken Tappe · June 28, 2024 · Reading Time: 2 minutes

Rising Popularity

America’s unions are booming in popularity, as workers use their collective power to push for change. But what does this mean for the economy? Is it a “good” or a “bad” thing?

Reshaping the Economy

When workers band together to rally around a cause, they can make real change happen. In the year so far, we’ve seen picketing from flight attendants and pilots, pharmacists, and auto workers, who forced their employers to the negotiating table.

For the workers, the upside of collective power is clear: Potentially higher wages, better benefits, and better working conditions. In turn, this has the potential to combat economic inequality, and put extra dollars into American wallets. Spending these additional dollars is good for the economy, which feeds off consumer spending.

On one hand, companies may have to spend more on their workforces, and this could weigh on their bottom lines. Some may resort to raising prices for their products to pass down their higher costs.

Major Wins

Last year, the number of workers voting in union elections was at the highest level in a decade, according to an analysis by the Center for American Progress . And they’re seeing results, too. The same analysis indicated that today’s workers have a unionization win rate of over 70%, the highest in 15 years.

For example, the Teamsters Union ratified a 5-year contract with UPS (UPS) that promises raises and workplace protections, such as AC in delivery vans. The United Auto Workers secured wage increases of at least 33% with the Big 3 Automakers over the life of their agreement. Perhaps most prominently, Hollywood actors and writers scored contracts that promise provisions on the use of AI, as well as with raises.

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