The recent vote against unionization by workers at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama has brought the conversation on the role of organized labor back to the forefront. Once 25% of all workers in the United States, union members now comprise just over 10% of the total workforce - a trend that some have noted as accompanying increasing income inequality and wage stagnation for the average American worker.

Dan McCrory watched this decline firsthand during his 37 year career at AT&T, where he served both as a union member and leader. We discussed this an his book Capitalism Killed the Middle Class: 25 Ways the System is Rigged Against You, for this episode of YDHTY.

You can listen to the full episode below, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever else you happen to get your podcasts.



When McCrory started with AT&T, it was a union shop offering job security and benefits that allowed for upward mobility, such as an education allowance. After the forced break up of the company by the government and lower priced competitors emerged, these benefits began to decline as the wellbeing of employees was put after those of the shareholders, and relations between labor and management became contentious.

Situations like this emerged in companies across the country, being blamed largely on policies of then-President Ronald Reagan that favored deregulation. This being said, McCrory noted how his own union leadership exacerbated the problem, rebuffing efforts by management to create a more collaborative relationship with frontline workers in an effort to retain negotiating power. This created an adversarial relationship between labor and management that benefitted neither.

McCrory also notes the Democratic Party was not a much better friend to labor than their Republican counterparts. While their platform and campaigning was often pro-union, the policies they pushed when in office ran counter to their interests - such as the rush into global trade agreements that accelerated the decline of American manufacturing.

McCrory's recommendations are part government intervention, part local action. McCrory supports measures such as Medicare for All, but also feels younger workers need to organize at their workplaces as well. 

Recent trends indicate others share McCrory's views. The majority of Americans support some sort of government subsidized healthcare, and workers at Google recently voted to unionize.

It's unclear whether labor unions will return to their peak in the 1950s, but hopefully the quality of life that accompanied them will.


McCrory's book, Capitalism Killed the Middle Class: 25 Ways the System is Rigged Against You, can be purchased on Amazon via the following link: