Why Unions Matter Library

The Library is organized into the following 7 sections:

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

Section 1: Union Organizing Efforts

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

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

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

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

e. Lauren Kaori Gurley, “Another Big Victory for Labor,” The New Republic, April 23, 2019.

f. Steven Greenhouse, “Why Newsrooms Are Unionizing Now,” Nieman Reports, March 31, 2009.

g. Doug Henwood, “There Are So Many Things That We Can Learn From This Strike—An Interview with Alex Caputo-Pearl and Jane McAlevey,” Jacobin, February 8, 2019.

h. Rachel M. Cohen, “Workers Just Notched a Rare Win in Federal Court,” The Intercept, January 3, 2019.

i.. Daniel Moattar, “How Graduate Unions Are Winning—and Scaring the Hell out of Bosses—in the Trump Era,” In These Times, November 29, 2018.

j. Celine McNicholas, Samantha Sanders, and Heidi Shierholz, “First Day Fairness, An agenda to build worker power and ensure job quality,” Economic Policy Institute, August 22, 2018.

k. Filiberto Nolasco Gomez, “In the Face of Janus, AFL-CIO Launches Nationwide Ad Campaign Calling on Working People to Organize,” Portside, May 29, 2018

l. Sarah Jaffee, “In the Age of Trump and ‘Janus v. AFSCME,’ Labor Must Rethink Its Organizing Strategies: Interview with Jane McAlevey,” Truthout, March 28, 2018.

m. Harold Meyerson, “What Now for Unions?,American Prospect, March 26, 2018.

Section 2: Public Sector Unionization

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

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

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

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

e. Ellen David Friedman, “What’s Behind the Teachers’ Strikes,” Dollars and Sense, May 16, 2018.

f. Lois, Weiner, “West Virginia Teachers Are Showing How Unions Can Win Power Even If They Lose Janus,” In These Times, February 24, 2018.

g. Jamie Partridge, “How Postal Workers removed the Staples,” The Bullet, E-Bulletin 1365, February 6, 2017.

Section 3: Anti-worker Threats and Actions 

a. 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.

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

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

d. Janine Jackson interview with Celine McNicholas, “It Puts You Into a Process That Hugely Favors the Employer,” FAIR, June 4, 2019.

e. Alison Griswold, “Uber Drivers Not Employees—NLRB,” Quartz, May 16, 2019.

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

g. Hamilton Nolan, “The Next Big Legal Case to Assassinate Unions,” Splinter News, December 6, 2018.

h. Stephen Hill, “A Rundown of All the Ways Trump Is Overseeing an All Out, Under-the-Radar Attack on Workers,” In These Times, August 19, 2018.

i. Heidi Shierholz and Celine McNicholas, “The Supreme Court is poised to make forced arbitration nearly inescapable,” EPI Working Economics Blog, May 7, 2018.

jEd Pilkington, “Revealed: Secret rightwing strategy to discredit teacher strikes,” Guardian, April 12, 2018.

k. Lawrence Wittner, “The Trump Administration’s War on Workers,” Portside, February 19, 2018.

l. Marni von Wilpert, “States with joint-employer shield laws are protecting wealthy corporate franchisers at the expense of franchisees and workers,” Economic Policy Institute Fact Sheet, February 13, 2018.

Section 4: The Union Difference

a. 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


b. 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.

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

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

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

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

g. 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.

h. Elise Gould and Celine McNicholas, “Unions help narrow the gender wage gap,” Economic Policy Institute, Working Economics Blog, April 3, 2017.

i. Cherrie Bucknor, “Black Workers, Unions, and Inequality,” Center for Economic and Policy Research, August 30, 2016.

j. Jake Rosenfeld, Patrick Denice, and Jennifer Laird, “Union decline lowers wages of nonunion workers, The overlooked reason why wages are stuck and inequality is growing,” Economic Policy Institute, Report, August 30, 2016.

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.

i. Molly Beck, “Union membership in Wisconsin tumbles below national average,” Wisconsin State Journal, January 29, 2016.

j. Jeffrey Keefe, “Eliminating fair share fees and making public employment “right-to-work” would increase the pay penalty for working in state and local government,” Economic Policy Institute, Report, October 13, 2015.

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,” Report, 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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