Paul Krugman on Unions

Question: Do unions still matter?

Paul Krugman: They’re not very important in America, but they should be.  The fact that unions have been pushed into a marginal position is a political act.  Unions remain very important in other advanced countries, and not just ones that are far away and very different from us.  Unions are very important in Canada.  Unions . . .  In the ‘60s, Canada and the U.S. were comparably unionized – about 30 percent of the workforce.  Canada is still almost as unionized as it was then.  In the United States, the unions have been largely crushed.  And “crushed” is the right word because it was hostile, often illegal union busting by employers because the political environment was one in which open season had been declared on union organizers.  There’s no reason.  People say, “Oh,” you know, “manufacturing faces global competition.”  Well that’s true and places some limits on what unions can achieve in manufacturing.  But you know why shouldn’t Wal-Mart be unionized?  There’s nothing that says we couldn’t have large corporations in the service sector part of a unionized workforce.  And I think unions are just important as a counterweight to . . . to other forces in the society.  There’s not . . .  There are not many ways in which ordinary workers can be effective in bargaining effective politics.  Unions is the best way to do that.

Krugman would like to see renewed interest in unions.

A dark matter hurricane is crashing into Earth

Giving our solar system a "slap in the face"

Surprising Science
  • A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
  • It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
  • Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Keep reading Show less

Too much sleep results in cognitive decline, researchers find

We know the dangers of too little sleep. Now for the other side of the story.

Photo: Vladislav Muslakvo / Unsplash
Surprising Science
  • Western University researchers found that sleeping over eight hours per night results in cognitive decline.
  • Oversleepers suffer similar difficulties on certain cognitive tests as those who sleep under seven hours.
  • Not all the news is bad: One night of oversleeping results in a cognitive boost.
Keep reading Show less

California wildfires death toll climbs to 50

Firefighters in California are still struggling to contain several wildfires nearly one week after they broke out.

(Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Hundreds of people are still missing after three wildfires spread across Northern and Southern California last week.
  • 48 of the 50 deaths occurred after the Camp Fire blazed through the town of Paradise, north of Sacramento.
  • On Tuesday night, a fourth wildfire broke out, though it's mostly contained.
Keep reading Show less