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A Big Fight Lies Ahead for U.S. Labor to Lock In Pandemic Gains

  • Workers are enjoying rare bargaining power as economy reopens
  • But it’s a long haul back after decades when capital reigned
Workers at a factory in Newell, West Virginia.

Workers at a factory in Newell, West Virginia.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

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At the start of the pandemic, American workers were thrown out of jobs by the millions. By the time it ends, they could be in their strongest position in decades.
Union leaders and labor economists caution that the big battles have yet to be won -– but they can see conditions in place for workers to claw back some of the ground lost during the U.S. economy’s long slide into inequality. Since the 1980s, wages have lagged as corporate profits and stock markets soared.