The New Union Organizing Model: The Force of Gen Z

Events / February 21, 2023

At the beginning of 2022, a host of creative union-organizing campaigns erupted out of the remnants of the COVID-19 pandemic, labor shortages, supply chain problems and political activism. A significant shift in union representation was exhibited by a 24-year-old Rhodes scholar who got a job as a barista in Buffalo, New York, which has led to over 300 union campaigns. Another was started by a warehouse worker complaining about safety conditions on Staten Island, New York, who started a homegrown union to organize the largest online retailer in America. These efforts and others like them across the nation have changed the paradigm for union organizing in 2023, which now can target every employer across the nation. These are “value driven” campaigns, not merely focused on wages and hours. They arise in micro units and are supported by GoFundMe accounts, are geographically agnostic, and are rooted in respect, dignity and social justice. It is this new era for union organizing that we will explore in this session.

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