Why millennials should lead the next labor movement

Writer Kashana Cauley, who grew up in a union household in Janesville, recognizes the critical role the union played in her father’s life and, consequently, in her life. It not only helped make sure her father could pay the bills, it provided the family with quality, affordable health care.

But those days of strong unions and good jobs have fallen by the wayside in recent years, she writes in a New York Times column, and the result has “sent the bottom flying out of the middle class.”

We can’t stand by and let it continue, she writes.

“People like me, who have mental museums filled with memories of the stability that came with our parents’ union jobs, could be the perfect leaders of the next labor union renaissance,” she writes.

“We millennials, many of whom entered the work force during the last recession, have borne the brunt of the country’s recent decline in employment quality, with lower wages, diminishing benefits and the presence of noncompete clauses that hurt even entry-level employees from finding subsequent jobs. We show higher support for unions than previous generations, and with good reason: Unionized employees typically enjoy better benefits and have made about 27 percent more than their non-unionized counterparts for roughly the last 15 years.”

Unions still stand for “the value of jobs that provide a fair wage, reasonable conditions and the ability to care for a family,” she writes, and that is “as timely now as it ever was.”

Read her entire column:

Opinion | Why Millennials Should Lead the Next Labor Movement

After years of studying our bathroom’s stack of union publications, I grew enthralled with the existence of union negotiator guys who looked just like my dad, dressed in the Midwestern anti-fashion of workboots and fleeces to guard against our seemingly eternal winters.