Unions and collective bargaining increase workers’ democratic voice; raise wages and build wealth; and improve conditions for all workers. It should be no surprise that nearly 70 percent of Americans support unions, and support is especially high among younger generations. Despite the fact that workers want and need unions, decades of weakened labor law has eroded workers’ ability to form unions and engage in collective bargaining. Yet, states have significant authority to build power for working people.
This column provides an overview of successful state action during the 2023 legislative session to strengthen workers’ ability to join unions and collectively bargain, such as repealing right-to-work laws, improving collective bargaining protections, strengthening protections for striking workers and allowing tax deduction for union dues. States also helped raise standards by banning captive audience meetings; establishing prevailing wage standards; enacting boards that bring together workers and employers to recommend industry specific working standards; and more. These measures will help grow the middle class and improve the lives of workers in these states and should serve as models for other states and the federal government.
The above excerpt was originally published in the Center for American Progress.
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