You're about to get a preview of a premium Guide. Guides are a feature of theSkimm App that make it easier to go down a rabbit hole on the biggest issues in your newsfeed. They go beyond what you see in the Daily Skimm to give you the history and context of everything from climate change to artificial intelligence to the rising cost of college. Plus, they include exclusive audio stories just for app subscribers.
Labor unions have been around for decades, but they’re not getting as much love as they used to.
You got it. Labor unions are groups of workers that band together on work-related decisions (think: hours, wages) through collective bargaining. Members pay dues that go towards things like representation, political campaigns, and paying union leaders and staff. Union reps negotiate with employers on their members’ behalf.
The idea dates back as far as the 1700s, when printers in New York joined forces to ask for a wage increase. But unions didn’t really pick up steam until after the Civil War, when the US started to industrialize. Enter: the Industrial Revolution.
Right? The uptick in mass production meant more jobs. Plus an influx of immigrants coming to the US meant more people willing to take on those jobs. These circumstances created a power gap between employees and their bosses, who could get away with paying workers low wages and forcing them to work long hours. So workers started to fight back through labor organizations. In 1935, President Roosevelt signed the National Labor Relations Act (aka the Wagner Act), establishing the right to join a union, go on strike, and collectively bargain (though it’s still illegal for federal workers to strike).
Sorta. Union membership hit its peak by 1954, when about one in three Americans were part of one. Though union membership has gone down in recent decades, there are still millions of people in the US who belong to unions. Here are some of the reasons you may have heard about them lately:
Yup. After declining for decades, union membership is at a historic low. In 2018, only 10.5% of American workers were part of a union, compared to more than 20% in the early 1980s.
Sign up for the Daily Skimm email newsletter.
Delivered to your inbox every morning and prepares you for your day in minutes.
It’s that time of the decade: the government is taking a headcount of the US population. Here’s what you need to know about the history of the census and what to expect this year.
It’s Pride Month, and we texted with Frankie Grande to see how he celebrates.
‘Tis the season for red carpets and trips to the movie theater. With the Oscars around the corner, here’s what you need to know about the real-life stories behind some of this year’s biggest movies.