Tilly on Boost in Workers’ Bargaining Power

Urban Planning Chair Chris Tilly was featured in an Associated Press article about the growing strength of union workers. A nationwide worker shortage spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic has given union workers an opportunity to demand higher wages and better working conditions. “Low-end jobs more typically have a labor surplus,” Tilly said. “But there are also shortages at higher skill levels, including jobs where there are chronic shortages like nurses, machinists and teachers.” Tilly predicted that, as the job market starts to slow in coming months, union workers may lose some of their newly claimed bargaining power. “As long as the economy is growing — and growing at a relatively vigorous pace — that’s going to continue helping workers, and for that matter, dealing unions a better hand, too,” he explained. “But we are not necessarily in a new era that’s going to look exactly like it has for the last few months.”

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