The newly passed Workforce Innovation Opportunities Act contains provisions that will encourage states and local workforce systems to adopt and expand the use of programs focused on specific employment sectors and career pathways. Such efforts -- often referred to as sector strategies -- are reshaping the workforce field.
The Republican Party, as the instrument of the forces of corporatist oligarchy, has had a major hand (more so than the Democrats) in injuring the economic prospects of these men. But the ways these injuries have been inflicted are more hidden than the social revolutions that toppled the old order of automatic superiority.
Workers are struggling to stay afloat. Incomes haven't gone up in the 21st century. Inequality reaches new extremes. A record portion of our national income goes to corporate profits, while a record low goes into workers' wages. Three-fourths of Americans fear their children will fare less well than they have. This Labor Day, we should do more than celebrate workers -- we should understand how vital empowering workers and reviving worker unions is to rebuilding a broad middle class. The raging debate on inequality and its remedies often omits discussion of unions and workers' power. Our extreme inequality is attributed largely to globalization and technology that have transformed our economy. But this leaves power and politics out of the equation.
The nine justices of the SCOTUS are now in recess, leaving the rest of us the summer in which to reflect upon and digest their latest set of rulings. Because it is likely that both judgments will have long-term adverse consequences for progressive causes, a moment of reflection on that second judgment is well in order.