Posts Tagged: Unions Results 3
Recently, Elissa Strauss wrote a post about how most of our clothes are likely made in sweatshops. I thought of the issue again as I woke up each morning this week to see the death toll rise in the gruesome wake of the collapsed clothing factory in Bangladesh. It’s now 700.
In The Sisterhood post “Does Generation Y have a Union Problem?” Sarah Seltzer wrote about the apathy she sees in her peers when it comes to supporting the labor movement, and how she hopes that the protests in Wisconsin will serve as a wake-up call. I agree with Sarah that there is overall less enthusiasm among Gen Y about unions than in generations past, but I don’t think it is merely a case of apathy.
For starters, I feel inclined to point out that when I worked as a consultant on a few organizing campaigns for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), I met droves of passionate and bright Gen Yers who were committed to the trade union movement as a vehicle for social justice and maintaining our ever-shrinking middle-class. These young men and women, many of whom came out of the anti-sweatshop movement that has spread on college campuses over the past decade, work hard and long to ensure that working mothers get health care for their families and janitors receive adequate protection from the hazardous chemicals they must use on the job.
Jewish women have a long and storied history in the American labor and worker’s rights movement, from Emma Goldman to Rose Schneiderman to Betty Friedan (yep, she was a union rabble-rouser first) and beyond. This excellent article at the Jewish Women’s Archive gives a partial overview of Jewish women’s involvement in the movement: the good, the bad and the ugly. And our presence in the movement continues today: arguably one of the most visible and controversial union leaders in our country, Randi Weingarten, is herself a Jewish woman.