Why Unions Matter Library

The Library is organized into the following sections:

Special Section: Labor Organizing During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Section 1: Union Organizing Efforts
Section 2: Public Sector Unionization
Section 3: Anti-worker Threats and Actions
Section 4: The Union Difference
Section 5: The Right to Work Experience
Section 6: Anti-union Arguments
Section 7: General References

Special Section: Labor Organizing During the Covid-19 Pandemic

a. Luke Savage, “Working from Home Post-Coronavirus Will Give Bosses Greater Control of Workers’ Lives,” Jacobin, June 4, 2020.

b. David Kroman, “Labor Council to Seattle Police Union: Address Racism or Get Out,” Crosscut, June 4, 2020.

c. Melissa Segura, “There’s One Big Reason Why Police Brutality Is So Common In The US. And That’s The Police Unions,” BuzzFeed, June 1, 2020.

d. Chris Brooks, “Follow the Money: Employers Are Behind the Rush to Reopen,” Labor Notes, May 21, 2020.

e. Hamilton Nolan, “The Case For Sectoral Bargaining Is Now Stronger Than Ever,” In These Times, May 21, 2020.

f. Michelle Chen, “Workers Fight for Their Lives,” In These Times, May 21, 2020.

g. Jessica Goodheart, “Can Workers Organize in the Deep South During the Pandemic?Capital & Main, May 11, 2020.

h. Amazonians United, “How Amazon Workers Are Organizing for the Long Haul,” Labor Notes, May 11, 2020.

i. Bryce Covert, “Across Class Lines: Amazon Tech Workers Join Warehouse Workers in Protests,” The American Prospect, May 1, 2020.

j. Nicholas Riccardi and Dee-Ann Durbin, “Pandemic Job Actions Offer Hope for Renewed Labor Movement,” Associated Press, April 28, 2020.

k. Marty Johnson, “States Tell Workers They’ll Lose Unemployment Benefits if They Refuse to Return to Jobs,” The Hill, April 28, 2020.

l. Michael Sainato, “Trader Joe’s and Other’s Suppress Unionization Efforts During Pandemic,” The Guardian, April 23, 2020.

m. Kim Moody, How Just in Time Capitalism spread Covid-19, Spectre Journal, April 8, 2020.

n. Celine McNicholas, “In Midst of a Pandemic, Trump’s NLRB Makes it Nearly Impossible for Workers to Organize a Union,” Economic Policy Institute, March 31, 2020.

o. Edward Ongweso Jr, “General Electric Workers Walk Off the Job, Demand to Make Ventilators,” Motherboard. Tech by VICE, March 30, 2020.

p. Hamilton Nolan, “Sara Nelson: Our Airline Relief Bill Is a Template for Rescuing Workers Instead of Bailing Out Execs, In These Times, March 19, 2020.

Section 1: Union Organizing Efforts

a. Eli Rosenberg, “House Passes Bill to Rewrite Labor Laws and Strengthen Unions,” Portside Labor, February 7, 2020.

b. Lauren Kaori Gurley, “Instacart Workers Win Historic Union Election,” Portside Labor, February 4, 2020.

c. Don McIntosh, “Union campaign at Columbia Sportswear,” Northwest Labor Press, January 2, 2020.

d. Haidee Chu, “2019 Was the Year Tech Workers Organized,” Portside Labor, December 26, 2019.

e. Jaya Saxena, “Food Service Is Grueling Work — So More And More Workers Are Organizing,” Portside Labor, December 11, 2019.

f. Will Evans, “Ruthless Quotas at Amazon Are Maiming Employees,” Portside Labor, November 26, 2019.

g. Noreen Ahmed, “Exposing Wage Theft Without Fear is Possible and Necessary,” National Employment Law Project, September 16, 2019.

h. Joe DeManuelle-Hall, “Prime Day for Amazon Protests,” Labor Notes, July 17, 2019.

i. Colin Lecher, “How Amazon automatically tracks and fires warehouse workers for ‘productivity’,” The Verge, April 25, 2019.

j. Steven Greenhouse, “Dear Delta Airlines: Video Games and Beer Cannot Compete with Joining a Union,” The Guardian, May 11, 2019.

k. Sarita Gupta, Stephen Lerner and Joseph A McCartin,”Why the Labor Movement has Failed – And How to Fix It,” Boston Review, May 1, 2019.

Section 2: Public Sector Unionization

a. Dave Jamieson, “California Child Care Workers Will Hold The Biggest Union Election In Years,” Portside Labor, February 5, 2020.

b. Micah Uetricht, You Don’t Get This Perfect Storm of Class Struggle Very Often–An Interview with Eric Blanc,” Jacobin, July 5, 2019.

c. Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, “Oregon Governor Signs Sweeping Union Rights Law Affecting Public Employers,” The National Law Review, July 1, 2019.

d. Johanna Brenner, “California Teachers on the March: An Interview with Joel Jordan,” Solidarity, April 4, 2019.

e.  Reid Wilson, “States race to prevent teacher strikes by boosting pay,” The Hill, January 19, 2019.

f. Heather Gies, “Disaster Averted: How Unions Have Dodged the Blow of Janus (So Far),” In These Times, January 12, 2019.

Section 3: Anti-worker Threats and Actions 

a. Maxine Bernstein, “National Labor Relations Board sues Oregon, wants judge to nullify state’s workplace meeting law,” Oregon Live, February 7, 2020.

b. William Lewis, “Trump Labor Board Escalates War on Workers’ Rights,” Portside Labor, December 22, 2019.

c. Michelle Chen, “Bosses Are Charged with Breaking the Law in Over 40% of Union Campaigns,” Portside Labor, December 13, 2019.

d. Gabriel Winant, “Life Under the Algorithm, How a relentless speedup is reshaping the working class,” The New Republic, December 4, 2019.

e. Heidi Shierholz, “Working people have been thwarted in their efforts to bargain for better wages by attacks on unions,” Economic Policy Institute, August 27, 2019.

f. Kris LaGrange, “Trump’s NLRB: Employers May Now File Decerts,” Portside Labor, July 10, 2019.

g. Shaun Richman, “Rats Have Speech Rights, Too: Unions, Protests and Balloons,” New York Daily News, July 8, 2019.

h. Alison Griswold, “Uber Wins Big in NLRB SuperShuttle Decision,” Quartz, January 26, 2019.

Section 4: The Union Difference

a. Meagan Day, “Americans Are Starting to Love Unions Again,” Jacobin, September 2, 2019.

b. Lynn Rhinehart, “Let’s not forget unions and collective action when discussing victories on workers’ rights,” Economic Policy Institute, February 11, 2019.

c. Mark Brenner and Lina Stepick, “The Union Advantage: How Oregon Unions Raise Wages, Improve Benefits, and Contribute to the State Economy,” University of Oregon, Labor Education and Research Center, February 2019.

wage difference


d. Josh Bivens and Heidi Shierholz, “What labor market changes have generated inequality and wage suppression? Employer power is significant but largely constant, whereas workers’ power has been eroded by policy actions,” Economic Policy Institute, December 12, 2018.

e. Susan Dynarski, “Fresh Proof That Strong Unions Help Reduce Income Inequality,” New York Times, July 6, 2018.

f. Eric Levitz, “Unions Are Not a Special Interest Group,” New York Magazine, May 25, 2018.

g. Janet Bauer, “Stronger Unions Would Reduce Income Inequality,” Oregon Center for Public Policy, May 1, 2018.

h. Catherine Ordonez, “Janus Amicus Demonstrates That Unions Protect LGBT Workers,” Onlabor Blog, May 1, 2018.

i. Hannah Finnie, “Why Young People Are Joining Unions Again, For the first time in decades, union membership is on the rise among young people,” Talk Poverty, April 19, 2018.

Section 5: The Right to Work Experience

a. Eric Dirnbach, “What’s the Likely Effect of the Janus Case? Let’s Look at the Numbers,” Portside, March 19, 2018.

b. Robin Urevich, “Judging Janus: The Money Machine Behind the Attacks on Labor,” Portside, November 20, 2017.

c. Bill Knight, “Iowa Workers Defy Attempt to Weaken Their Unions,” Pekin Times, November 14, 2017.

d. Desmoinesdem, “GOP Law Fails to Break Iowa’s Largest Public Sector Unions,” Bleeding Heartland, October 25, 2017.

e. Don McIntosh, “’Right to Work’ coming to the public sector,” Northwest Labor Press, May 16, 2017.

f. Steve Smith, “Rep. Steve King and the Racist Origins of So-Called Right to Work,” California Labor Federation, March 13, 2017.

g. Leah Fried, “Five Steps to Maintain Unity and Membership under Right to Work,” Labor Notes, February 1, 2017.

h. Ross Eisenbrey and Teresa Kroeger, “A tale of two states (and what it tells us about so-called ‘right-to-work’ laws),” Economic Policy Institute, blog, January 12, 2017.

Section 6: Anti-union Arguments 

a. Elizabeth Hovde, “The union way – penalizing community-minded employers,” Oregonian, May 28, 2018.

b. Steve Buckstein and Kathryn Hickok, “My View: Time to stop forcing union membership,” Portland Tribune, August 24, 2017.

c. Oregonian Editorial Board, “Oregon ‘right to work’ initiative is suddenly very relevant: Editorial Agenda 2016,” The Oregonian, April 1, 2016.

Section 7: General References

a.  Josh Bivens, Lora Engdahl, Elise Gould, Teresa Kroeger, Celine McNicholas, Lawrence Mishel, Zane Mokhiber, Heidi Shierholz, Marni von Wilpert, Ben Zipperer, and Valerie Wilson, “How today’s unions help working people, Giving workers the power to improve their jobs and unrig the economy,” Economic Policy Institute, August 24, 2017.

b. Jonathan Rosenblum, Beyond $15, Immigrant Workers, Faith Activists, and the Revival of the Labor Movement, Beacon Press, 2017.

c. Colin Gordon, The Union Difference: Labor Policy and American Inequality.

d. Why Unions Matter, Keep Oregon Working, June 2016.

e. The UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, Work, Money and Power: Unions in the 21st Century, third edition 2013.

f. Michael K. Honey (editor), All Labor Has Dignity (Speeches of Martin Luther King Jr. on Labor Rights and Economic Justice), Beacon Press, 2012.

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