Beth Shulman

Beth Shulman is a lawyer and consultant focusing on work-related issues. She is a former vice president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and the author of The Betrayal of Work: How Low-Wage Jobs Fail 30 Million Americans.

Recent Articles

Yes, Union

Labor's message to liberals: Rumors of our irrelevance have been much exaggerated.

T here is great hand-wringing in the United States about stagnant living standards and rising inequality. But despite this growing concern, too many liberals are reluctant to embrace the best proven agent of greater earnings equality—strong labor unions. Many well-meaning liberals point to global competition as the cause of widening gaps between semiskilled and knowledge workers, creating income disparity and stagnant living standards. According to their formula, education and retraining are the remedy for this increasing inequality. Yet this solution allows American business to rationalize low wages and widening inequality as merely a necessary response to global competition. The education solution avoids the profoundly political question of how profits from productivity gains should be shared with workers. Here again, unions are a necessary agent of change. The globalization argument also has the effect of paralyzing workers who are continually bombarded with the message that they...