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Why unions growing in California - Video highlights CNA

Los Angeles Times, 1/24/13

Business reporter Alana Semuels talks with nurses union organizer David Johnson and UC Berkeley Prof. Harley Shaiken about why labor unions are growing in California but not the nation.

By Alana Semuels

January 24, 2013, 1:59 p.m.

Unions may be declining in most of the country, but California and a few other states in the West are bucking the trend.

California added more than 100,000 union member last year, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and 18.4% of the state’s workers are represented by a union.

The growth comes as low-wage workers such as janitors and fast-food workers try to organize, and as healthcare employees, a booming sector in California, join unions. 

Join us for a live video chat at 2:30 p.m. Pacific

Employees are typically hesitant to join unions during a recession because they’re most concerned about keeping their jobs. But the California Nurses Union was one of many in the state that was able to add members last year, and has added them for the last few years.

We’ll talk to an organizer from the nurses’s union about why nurses are organizing now, and about some of the challenges of organizing in a down economy. We’ll also talk to labor expert and UC Berkeley professor Harley Shaiken about other successes in organizing across the country, and about what is special about California.

Click here to read the story that ran on A1 of the Los Angeles Times today.

Copyright © 2013, Los Angeles Times

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