April 3, 2018

April 3, 2018

What the teachers’ strikes mean:

First, lumped with the Kansas Republican parents' revolt against extreme tax cuts underfunding their kids' schools, which took the form of defeating GOP legislators in the 2016 primaries, there is a growing repudiation of the Norquist pledge in GOP statehouses.
 
Second, there is a growing use of social media to mobilize the workers whom the unions haven't reached, though you need the union to be the closer (a Zeynep Tufekci sweet spot, as it were).
 
Third, this is part of a larger white-collar rising: Over the past decade, the share of union members who are professional or technical workers has risen from 33 percent to 42 percent, reflecting managers' inability to fire hard-to-replace skilled workers during organizing drives, but also their continued ability to fire workers in retail, food service, on assembly lines, or on construction sites.
 
Fourth, this is also part of the millennial turn to unions: In the most recent Pew Poll, a mind-boggling 76 percent of millennials approve of unions, which is a far higher share than the percentage of millennials who've actually encountered unions. This reflects their economic travails, in sync with their high level of support for Sanders in 2016. 
 
For a fuller exposition of this analysis, replete with some invective directed at the teachers’ enemies, see my new Prospect column: What the Teacher Strikes Mean