Back to the Future? US Labour in the New Gilded Age
21 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2013
Date Written: December 2013
This article argues that the twenty‐first century US labour movement has increasingly come to resemble its counterpart in the Gilded Age 100 years ago. Starting in the 1970s, deindustrialization and deregulation have gradually undermined the New Deal labour relations system, and have led to the proliferation of precarious labour. The labour movement then began to experiment with alternative labour organizing strategies and increasingly sought out political alliances with other progressive movements, reproducing practices that were widespread among US unions prior to the New Deal era. Although many of these experiments have succeeded on a small scale, they face intransigent opposition from employers and anti‐union organizations, and whether they can be expanded enough to generate a new labour movement upsurge remains to be seen.
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