Ben Bartosik

September 29, 2023

Going through an interview this morning with Stephanie Ross, the associate professor in McMaster’s School of Labour Studies. In it she makes some interesting comments about the way support for labour unions is the highest it's been in decades. Her point is that strikes are capturing the general mood of people in response to concerns such as inflation.

She also references the pandemic as a significant turning point in this new labour movement.

"The experience of the pandemic has made people really rethink how much they’re willing to sacrifice for jobs and their employers. Workers are much less likely to put up with bad working conditions, and there’s a generational component to that as well."

This seems to square with other things I've been reading over the last little while that suggest seem to suggest our relationship to work is changing significantly. I think there are a lot of factors at play here -- remote work, safe working conditions, the looming threat of AI, to name a few -- but it all adds up to the way the promises of capitalism are falling out from under us and people are becoming increasingly disillusioned to it. As the labour movement increasingly pushes its way into the forefront of these issues, it's important we find ways to build bridges with our other social concerns as well.

"The labour movement is leading conversations about what kind of society we want to have in a very public way, not just in negotiating rooms where nobody can see."

Time to rebuild in a way that works for everyone, not just a few.