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In this 2021 TEDxSeattle talk, Margaret Levi shares her ideas on what roles labor unions play in the lives and futures, and how we need to imagine and build better labor organizations for the 21st century.
Margaret explains how labor unions balance the playing field by protecting the rights of workers. She discusses how the dramatic decline of labor unions contributes to an increase in inequality and is jeopardizing the middle class well-being of generations to come.
2:45 - Unions even the playing field
6:59 - Why Unions are in danger
13:12 - We need to reimagine labor unions for where we are now
More to explore:
Learn more about Margaret: profiles.stanford.edu/margaret-levi
Learn more about Margaret’s take on moral economy: youtube.com/watch?v=R16f2SRQz4Q Meet Margaret Levi: professor, author, and advocate for democracy who believes the decline of unions creates real problems for the society. She asserts the need for new forms of labor organization appropriate for the times.
Margaret has dedicated much of her career championing the worker’s voice. Born in the post-World War II era, she grew up living in the shadow of the holocaust and with the existential threat of a nuclear disaster constantly looming around the corner. The McCarthy era, a time when conspiratorial theories ran rampant, coincided with the civil rights movement, Margaret recalls her mother taking her and her sister to civil rights marches at young ages. As a teenager, she joined the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and listened in awe as Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. Having experienced history as it was being written provides Margaret with a unique perspective on how to reconstruct democracy to make it viable for today’s time and age. She wants to think about how we reconstruct the political economic framework so that it is actually suited to the way the economy works now and the problems people want and need to solve.
Margaret Levi has been a distinguished professor of political science for almost 50 years. She spent most of her career with the University of Washington keeping an eye on the labor movement. As Sara Miller McCune Director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford and Professor of Political Science, Stanford University. Margaret Levi is the author of numerous books, ran the Center for Labor Studies, and started The Brand Responsibility Project. She is the winner of the Skytte Prize, considered the Nobel in political science, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Science, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at ted.com/tedx
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