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How labor unions create worker power (w/ Margaret Levi) (Re-release)

How to Be a Better Human


Self-improvement, Education

4.21.1K Ratings

🗓️ 4 September 2023

⏱️ 40 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


If the ongoing television writers' and actors' strikes -- and other labor organizing efforts happening across the world -- have been on your radar, this is the episode for you. It's also for you if you are a fan of weekends. Or social security. Or health insurance. Or if you're anti-child labor! Because all of these aforementioned workplace protections exist thanks to the advocacy of labor unions. In this episode, American political scientist Margaret Levi shares the long history of organizing labor, and explains how unions create equality and protect worker rights. Margaret also discusses her optimism about today’s young workforce and why she believes that an equitable future requires a revival of the labor movement.

This is an episode we released last year but it feels more relevant than ever as we celebrate Labor Day today in the United States. We hope you enjoy it!

For the full text transcript, visit go.ted.com/BHTranscripts

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Ted Audio Collective.


Audio Collective.


You're listening to how to be a better human.


You're listening to how to be a better human.


I'm your host Chris Duffy.


In the United States this week we are celebrating Labor Day, which is so much more than just a marker of the end of summer


and a fashion reminder to put away your all white clothing ensembles.


Labor Day is a celebration of the accomplishments and the importance of the labor movement,


and we are at a moment in history right now,


where workers organizing and experiencing their collective power and solidarity has never been more important in my opinion.


I'm a proud member of the Writers Guild of America, and as you may have heard, we have been on strike since May 2nd.


I very much hope that by the time you listen to this,


the Hollywood studios have given in and the strike is over because they have accepted


our very reasonable demands.


I feel very confident that the strike is going to end with a victory for the writers eventually


but I cannot say how long I think it will take because I just don't know


and I don't know how much financial damage and pain it's going to cause to people along the way.


That's really hard.


But something that I have learned from these past few months on the picket line


is how powerful the feeling of solidarity is.


For me, seeing the Teamsters, the carpenters, the crew, the actors,


the whole range of people who work in my industry, supporting and standing together for better conditions,


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