“Workers, Equality, and Democracy: How Labor and Its Partners Should Think About the Future”
The stakes have never been higher for workers, unions, and people who believe in a just economy and a decent country. The capitalism of recent decades has relentlessly undercut worker bargaining power, triggering an explosive rise in inequality that has undermined democracy itself. Nearly every discussion of labor’s future in mainstream media quickly becomes mired in a group of concerns called “The Future of Work.” It is not the Future of Work that must concern us at this crucial moment, but rather it is the future of workers—whose future is inextricably linked to our ability to promote and preserve equality and democracy—that must be our most urgent concern. Unless we center our thinking around the intertwined and interdependent fates of working people, and their struggles for economic, racial, and gender justice, we cannot plan for a humane and sustainable future. This lecture will focus on the intersection of these fates: that of workers (rather than work), equality, and democracy.
Sarita Gupta is co-executive director of Jobs With Justice and co-director of Caring Across Generations.