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Eric Langston Shares Current Events And Updates In Labor Relations And Collective Bargaining

Eric Langston In 2023, the world of labor relations and collective bargaining is buzzing with excitement and momentum. Workers from various industries are pushing hard for significant improvements in their wages and working conditions. These labor movements have already achieved unprecedented wins, but can they maintain this momentum despite declining union membership, employer opposition, legal obstacles, and political partisanship?

Eric Langston explores the current landscape of labor relations and collective bargaining, highlighting the key events and updates that have shaped the labor movement this year.

Unprecedented Wins In Labor Movements

Labor movements in 2023 have seen remarkable success, with more workers across industries standing up for their rights and demanding better compensation and working hours. Data from the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University says over 457,000 workers in the U.S. have joined at least 315 strikes this year. Among these wins, airline pilots and UPS workers have secured lucrative labor deals, setting a positive precedent for other workers. These triumphs demonstrate the power of collective action.

These victories show that workers can significantly improve their working conditions when they come together.

Challenges Facing Labor Unions

Eric Langston Despite the historic successes, labor unions are not without their challenges. These include declining membership rates, employer opposition, legal obstacles, and political partisanship. The fight for better labor conditions is far from over, and labor unions must navigate these hurdles to maintain their momentum.

Declining Membership Rates

Over the years, union membership has steadily declined. In the private sector, only 6% of workers currently belong to unions. The reasons for this decline are multifaceted and include the Taft-Hartley Act, the offshoring of manufacturing jobs, anti-union stances, and the emergence of the gig economy. Labor unions must find ways to reverse this trend and increase their membership base.

Employer Opposition

Employers have often been resistant to the efforts of labor unions. They may employ tactics to discourage unionization, such as anti-union campaigns, legal challenges, and using consultants to thwart organizing efforts. Labor unions must navigate this opposition to represent their members effectively.

Legal Obstacles

Eric Langston Various legal obstacles can make it difficult for workers to unionize, especially in the private sector. Private sector employees have the right to unionize, granted by the National Labor Relations Act of 1935. However, legal support for public workers varies by state. "Right to work" laws, which allow employees to opt out of paying union dues, and other legal barriers can hinder the labor movement.

Political Partisanship

The political landscape can also impact labor unions. Partisan attitudes toward unionization can either hinder or support labor movements. Policies and legislation can change depending on the political climate, making it important for labor unions to engage with lawmakers and advocate for workers' rights.

Impact Of Labor Activism

The surge in labor activism can be attributed to several factors. Rising living costs, growing income inequality, and a tight labor market have motivated workers to demand better wages and working conditions. This wave of labor activism has resulted in hundreds of strikes this year, with hundreds of thousands of workers participating, resulting in over 7.4 million missed work days.

In addition to economic factors, the high level of public approval for stronger unions indicates that the labor movement has significant support from the general population. This support is crucial for sustaining momentum and achieving lasting change. However, experts emphasize that policy change is needed to ensure the longevity of the labor movement.

Organizing Challenges

Organizing workers can be a complex task, particularly in industries with high turnover and part-time positions. For example, organizing efforts at places like Starbucks and Amazon have faced significant challenges. The transient nature of these jobs can make it difficult to build a stable and committed membership base.

Workers in the gig economy, who often work as independent contractors, are also challenging to organize. The traditional model of unionization may not always fit the needs of these workers. This requires creative and innovative approaches to collective bargaining.


The current events and updates in labor relations and collective bargaining demonstrate a significant shift in the landscape of workers' rights. Labor movements in 2023 have achieved unprecedented success, with workers from various industries pushing for significant raises and better working conditions. Despite these wins, labor unions face challenges, including declining membership rates, employer opposition, political partisanship, and legal obstacles. Eric Langston says while the surge in labor activism is a positive sign, sustaining this momentum will require ongoing efforts to address these challenges. Workers, unions, lawmakers, and employers must collaborate to ensure fair wages, improved working conditions, and lasting change in the world of labor relations and collective bargaining. By coming together and working towards common goals, we can create a better and more equitable future for workers everywhere.

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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 17th November 2023.

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