IN FOCUS Discussion: Today’s labor unions

In Focus

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Historically, unions have made a significant impact on workers across the country. The minimum wage law? Unions. A 40-hour work week? The result of unions. Safe-working conditions? Most likely the result of unions. But how much influence do they have now?

Patrick Shea, a Salt Lake City attorney and historian for Utah’s labor unions, joined ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen on the CW30 News at 7 p.m. to talk about the history of miners and the conditions they were in at the turn of the last century, the role of Joe Hill and Bill Heywood, the high watermark for organized labor under FDR’s new deal, prominent scandals such as the Teamsters around the 1960s, and the significant downtown in views on unions during the 1980s.

Brad Asay, President of Utah American Federation of Teachers, and Brandon Dew, District Representative of Operating Engineers Local Union Number 3, discussed their unions, what it means for Utah to be a “Right to Work” state,” and how their essential workers did not receive prioritization when the COVID-19 vaccine was available.

Jeff Worthington, President of Utah’s American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations addressed the unionization efforts at Amazon warehouses in North Carolina and Alabama, the reliance of Democrats on union support, the state of our country’s labor laws, and his thoughts on the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on union workers.

To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with Shea, Asay, Dew, and Worthington, click on the video at the top of the article.

Catch IN FOCUS discussions with ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen weeknights on the CW30 News at 7 p.m.

Rosie Nguyen is an award-winning journalist who joined the ABC4 News team as a reporter in January 2018. In September 2020, she embarked on a new journey as the anchor for the CW30 News at 7 p.m. Although she’s not out in the field anymore, she is continuing her passion for social justice and community issues through the nightly “In Focus” discussions.

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