Jake Rosenfeld

Jake Rosenfeld is associate professor of sociology at Washington University in St. Louis, and author of What Unions No Longer Do.

Recent Articles

The Meaning of Labor's Win in Missouri

An overwhelmingly non-union electorate voted in favor of unions. What does that portend?

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Union supporters were able to rest easy on the primary night of Tuesday, August 7. Early in the evening, news outlets reported that the “right to work” initiative on the ballot was trailing badly, and many counties where it was expected to fail hadn’t yet tallied their votes. Yet something extraordinary awaited those who put off sleep. As the night crept on, and the precinct results poured in, what looked initially like a solid labor victory turned into an absolute rout. In the end, two-thirds of Missouri voters rejected Proposition A, the state’s “right to work” bill, sinking it by a 67 percent to 33 percent margin. The last time a “right to work” measure was on the ballot in Missouri was 40 years ago. Union supporters beat back that initiative in 1978 by a decisive 20 points. The 1978 result might not have surprised many at the time. Back in the late 1970s, nearly one out of every four workers in Missouri belonged to a labor union, and...