Combatting Negative Views of Unions: A Defense of Labor Studies

by Victor G. Devinatz
While visiting a friend in a prosperous western suburb of Chicago in early September 1999, I decided to attend the city’s Labor Day parade. As a labor relations professor, I was looking forward to this event, speculating on which unions would have the most impressive floats. It was a perfect day for view- ing a parade—sunny and not too hot. Families with children of all ages were in good spirits and packed the streets waiting for the parade to commence. But, as the floats began to roll by, I thought to myself, “Where are the labor unions?”

NEA: Combatting Negative Views of Unions: A Defense of Labor Studies (PDF, 12pp). Thought and Action. THE NEA Higher Education Journal. Victor G. Devinatz, professor of labor relations at Illinois State University, talks about the role of unions in promoting social justice, helping to pass employment-related legislation that has benefited both unionized workers and non-union employees, having positive effects on productivity, and unions’ importance in maintaining a healthy democratic society.

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