Akron-area union locals evolving because of job shortages, COVID-19

Travis Bornstein, president of Teamsters Local 24, says about 500 union members were laid off at the height of COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns.

Local unions are looking at how to navigate through an economy that is being changed by the COVID-19 pandemic and by people’s responses to the virus.

Leaders are hoping to promote union membership as a way to higher wages and better benefits and working conditions amid the ongoing national worker shortage.

The pandemic also has unions making use of the latest technology and popular social media sites for promotion.

One local is looking at using short-form video platform TikTok to recruit younger workers. Unions also have been using videoconference applications for contract negotiations and organizing when face-to-face meetings can’t take place.

Union membership grows in Ohio 

Employment figures show union membership dropped nationally last year, based on the latest available figures, even as the rate of union membership rose slightly year over year. While that may appear to be contradictory, it is because of a large overall decline in nonunion employment last year from the pandemic.

Louren F Leorge

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