Unions & Worker Organizations

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The Labor Center conducts research on unions and worker organizations and how they affect the lives of working people. This research has included the effects of unions on workers’ wages and benefits, how that differs by race, ethnicity and gender, and the role of unions in shaping public policy. The Center analyzes state and local policies that support worker voice on the job and the ability of workers to organize. We also study the effectiveness of organizing and bargaining strategies and methods.

See also our Labor-Managements Partnerships program

Research & Publications
Lance Compa

Failure to Deliver: Assessing Amazon’s Freedom of Association Policy under International Labor Standards

Amazon recently announced a new policy on freedom of association under international standards, saying it would comply with International Labor Organization and United Nations principles on union organizing and collective bargaining. This assessment shows that Amazon’s freedom of association policy, on its face, is non-compliant with international labor standards, and Amazon management’s conduct before and after issuing the policy continues to violate international standards.

Ken Jacobs, Rebecca Smithand Justin McBride

State and Local Policies and Sectoral Labor Standards: From Individual Rights to Collective Power

IRLE Working Paper. We look at four cases of recent experiments at the local level with sectoral standards. Our cases show that sectoral standards have the potential to expand new forms of social bargaining at the state and local level through public policy in areas of the country where worker organizations are already strong.

Press Coverage

Yes! Magazine

Can Unions Still Transform the Workplace?

“It’s possible that this new generation of female-heavy, people-of-color-heavy trade unionists will succeed where we have been failing for a couple of generations,” says labor expert and author Jane McAlevey.