White-Collar Unionization is Good for Everybody

Source: Alex Press, The Nation, January 29, 2018

Some have argued that it creates a class divide in labor—they’ve got it backward. ….

In a recent Atlantic article, Alana Semuels asks: “Why have high-profile organizing campaigns succeeded for white-collar workers and failed for blue-collar workers?” Semuels presents new BLS data that demonstrates the growth of white-collar unions: union membership in professional and technical jobs grew by nearly 90,000 last year, and several white-collar occupations saw an uptick in union density, which grew from 4 percent in 2010 to 7 percent in 2017. Contrasting this with recent defeats of blue-collar unionization drives, Semuels argues that there is a growing “class divide” within organized labor. …..

…..But this is where Semuels’s argument reveals its flaw: white-collar workers aren’t organizing because they feel secure, but because they have more in common with precarious blue collar workers than ever…..