Saying workers are buffeted by automation, globalization and robotics, which threaten high joblessness, and firms robbing them of bargaining power to fight back and get jobs in the looming new economy, the AFL-CIO launched a year-long study of the state of work and the state of U.S. unions.
Replying to a mandate from last year’s AFL-CIO convention, the new Commission on the Future of Work and Unions met at federation headquarters on May 3, first in a 3-hour morning public session, and then behind closed doors for the rest of the day.
The federation wants a final panel report to its executive council next February and to its general board, which includes virtually all member unions, in a year.
“A generation of bad policy choices have created an economy where many industries have grown up with no unions at all – and corporations and politicians have attempted to erode what it means to be an employee” and thus protected by labor law and the right to organize, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in opening the meeting.
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