Course Catalog


Assessing Workers' Power: Are Unions Necessary? Labor & Econ Transformations in US since 1945.

In this course, we study the decline in the strength of U.S. labor unions throughout the 20th century. In particular, we will examine the actions and fates of unions and workers since the end of World War II beginning with the "social contact" by which unions exchanged job security and a "family wage" for labor peace and support for the existing two political parties and anti-communism during the Cold War era. Next we take a look at the breaking of that social contract by business resulting in the decline of unionization rates and real earnings and benefits for workers in and out of unions. Finally, we will examine future trends and possibilities including the problems and potential for transforming the union ideals of solidarity and loyalty in a society where lifetime employment is a relic and tomorrow's workers can expect to have three times as many jobs as their parents did.

Offered in: