The Atlantic

The Conservative Case for Unions

How a new kind of labor organization could address the grievances underlying populist anger
Source: Edmon De Haro

Although I was as dumbfounded on Election Day as the next D.C. bubble-dweller, I did feel that I had one scrap of insight into the working-class anger that helped power Donald Trump’s improbable victory. Last year, I got a taste of what many Americans are coping with in a globalized economy—a globalized economy, more specifically, in which many workers feel voiceless and powerless. A taste was more than enough.

Early last year, my husband, Michael, took a part-time service job with an international airline. He immediately encountered the practice called just-in-time scheduling. The company would distribute shift schedules in advance, but then it would adjust them at will, often with only a couple of days’ notice and without bothering to consult the affected workers. Michael might be told on a Thursday that he would be working the Saturday-afternoon shift, and never mind our plans to be at a wedding that day.

He didn’t have kids to pick up, or classes to attend, or a second job to work, or any of the other commitments that make just-in-time scheduling an intolerable burden for many workers. Even so, the disruption to our lives soon became unbearable. The

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic6 min readSociety
We Need a More Targeted Approach to Combatting Global Inequality
A new trove of data may allow us to replace a trickle-down approach with more precise efforts.
The Atlantic6 min readPolitics
Trump’s New Mexico Rally Teased His 2020 Strategy
Speaking to thousands on the outskirts of Albuquerque last night, the president made a pitch to win over a voter bloc that once seemed a pipe dream.
The Atlantic7 min read
‘Close Friends,’ for a Monthly Fee
Gabi Abrao, better known as @sighswoon on Instagram, is “developing a language with the invisible.” Her page is half memes, half photos of her—eating fresh fruit, or trying out a metal detector, or posing in a museum bathroom wearing an incredible ma