In September 2019 Democratic Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren invoked the memory of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire at a campaign rally just a few blocks from the site of fire in Manhattan. It was a powerful reminder of just how deep the legacy of the disaster runs. Organized labor and workplace safety have come a long way since the fire but after years of political opposition, unions and worker rights are on the decline. In the U.S., unions represent 6.4 percent of private-sector workers and just 10.5 percent of workers overall. That’s the lowest percentage in more than a century, and down from 35 percent in the 1950s. That's according to Steven Greenhouse, author of the new book Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor. Greenhouse joins us to talk about the state of labor in America today and why after years of decline, labor is starting to gain steam.
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