The Boston Globe writes that millennials and white-collar workers are bringing new life to unions:
The ranks of organized labor have been shrinking for decades, and an upcoming Supreme Court decision involving the ability of public-sector unions to collect fees from nonmembers is expected to further sap the movement of much-needed funds.
But signs of life are flashing in unexpected places.
Millennials and professionals are bringing new energy to the movement, especially in New England, where more than half of union members are doctors, lawyers, teachers, architects, and other white-collar employees.
Last year, a third of the 262,000 new union members nationwide were in professional or technical occupations, mostly in the public sector. And more than three-quarters of new members were under age 35, part of a five-year trend of growth among younger workers, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
They highlighted the Boston Teachers Union and the recent news of teachers at two city charters who have voted to join the BTU:
Unions’ commitment to social justice also attracts young people, said Jessica Tang, the 36-year-old president of the Boston Teachers Union, which is helping organize the staff at two independently operated charter schools in Roxbury, where many teachers are in their 20s. Millennials tend to be open to joining the labor movement, Tang said, in part because they haven’t “bought into the [negative] stereotypes that right-wing and anti-labor groups have tried to hammer home for so long,” she said.