Economic inequality in America has reached staggering levels. Union membership has reached all time lows. What is the future of labor in America? Let's discuss it right now, with author and labor expert Stanley Aronowitz.
Aronowitz, whose latest book is "The Death and Life of American Labor," is a professor and director of the Center for the Study of Culture, Technology and Work at the City University of New York. But he is more than just an academic; he is a former factory worker, labor organizer, and the author of more than two dozen books that address all aspects of class, education, and lefty economic thinking in America. (He was also the Green Party's candidate for governor of New York in 2002.)
In his new book, Aronowitz parses organized labor's decline: "current unions are, in the main, incapable of and unwilling to make the radical shift necessary to convert themselves from service organizations into a fighting force that takes on power in its many dimensions. Further, they are not prepared to offer workers and the larger public an alternative to the prevailing setup. They are imprisoned within the legal and imaginative limits imposed by the largest corporations and the state on permissible activity and ideological orientation. I have argued that the major obstacle is not their shrinking numbers. The slide in union membership is a symptom, not a cause, of a much larger problem."