It has become fashionable to criticize unions in the US, when many of their shortcomings result from corrupt or at best unimaginative leadership. The fact that we have child labor laws, restrictions on working hours, workplace safety rules, were all the result of hard fought battles by workers. And as an article in Foreign Affairs stresses (hat tip reader Crocodile Chuck), Europe has much less income inequality than the US, which the author George Packer sees as a serious and difficult to remedy contributor to America’s decline. Strong unions have been a significant contributor to Europe’s less skewed distribution.
This discussion on Real News Network describes how unions have unduly narrowed their focus and gives some ideas and examples for ways they could be more effective on their own behalf and for the broader community