Make Me Smart by Marketplace: This is not your grandpa’s union

I was a guest on NPR Marketplace’s Make Me Smart podcast.

Labor organizing looks a lot different today.

The workplaces are different compared to decades ago. Think less industrial factories with thousands of workers and more StarbucksREI and Trader Joe’s with bargaining units of a couple of dozen employees, all organizing one location at a time.

“On one hand, it could be easier because you’ve got a smaller group of people to be making the demands. But then you have this challenge of power … it’s hard when you’re looking at a massive corporation, but you’re organizing it piece by piece,” said Sarah Jaffe, labor journalist and co-host of the podcast “Belabored.”

The AFL-CIO’s goal is to unionize 1 million workers in the next decade. Could organizing smaller workplaces be the path toward reversing decades of declining union membership?