Old Roots, New Branches: Jewish Spiritual Communities and the Rise of Alt-Labor

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Even as many lament the withering of three movements in the United States—Conservative Judaism, Reform Judaism, and the labor movement—something is happening in proximity to them that just might give them new life.

Similarly, traditional labor unions have been hemorrhaging members since the 1960s. A host of factors has hastened this process, including an aging workforce, loopholes in labor law that prevent the formation of unions in certain industries, the offshoring of jobs via globalized trade, and decades of state-level assaults on workers’ rights to collectively bargain. Yet, as formalized unions wane, new independent labor organizations are emerging to champion the rights of low-wage workers in the health care, food service, food production, and retail industries, among others.

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