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Read Scholarship Winner Hadley Phipps’s Essay

Every year, NATCA offers a scholarship program for spouses, children, stepchildren, and legally adopted children of active, retired, and deceased members in good standing for at least two consecutive years. This scholarship is for full-time attendance at accredited colleges and universities within the United States and its territories for an undergraduate degree program.

This year’s prompt asked candidates to examine why labor unions are experiencing a resurgence and what implications this has for the future.

Hadley Phipps, child of Scott Phipps (Denver ATCT, DEN) is among this year’s 20 scholarship winners. Below is the essay that Hadley submitted.

In recent polling it’s been showing that the approval rating for labor unions in the U.S. has hit its highest ever since 1965. Why all of a sudden is there a movement for more labor union orientation?

I’ve researched many articles, reasons and conclusions that could explain the recent rise of unions. One strong example is the current presidential administration has a very strong pro union belief. This is represented by the website, WhiteHouse.gov, which talks about how the Biden administration supports the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, (PRO), which allows unions to be created and supported more easily. While supporting this act, the Administration has also taken many efforts to improve worker leverage by, “appointing former union officials to the National Labor Relations Board” (WH.gov). Another factor that would create efforts to make more unionized work. If the administration that runs the country is on board with unions and creates programs that help it prosper, why wouldn’t there be a rise?

Another factor that could be contributing to the rise in unions could be the fallout from COVID and the push to have better work conditions. COVID took a toll on everyone, but it really messed up how work looked and the conditions that were in many jobs were not fair. I would say COVID was definitely a time where people reassessed their work conditions because they had the chance to take a step back. Unions strive to not just better employee wages but also working conditions, job benefits, schedules, and increase negotiation power. COVID took a lot of those aspects away in jobs, so it’s no wonder people want to ban together again to create better conditions.

Unions have always been around. There has always been strength in numbers, which is the general basis for having a union. Having people that have your back and help to make sure everyone gets treated and paid in accordance with their rights. Unions have historically been seen and used in more manufacturing jobs and have not really been transferred to service jobs, until now. Over the past years there has been a significant increase in attention towards the social justice and human rights activist movements. What is a human right and what can be voted on has taken a whole new meaning and image. More push to be vocal about what’s not fair and what is being withheld from a certain group is becoming more prominent. So with all the looking around asking for change why would there be no thought to change the workplace? There is. That’s why there has become so much more resurge in a union mindset. Change.

But what does this mean for our future? A rise in unions in more service industry jobs could potentially bring much more awareness for the benefits of a union. More people hear about it, the more people want in. The more workplaces that want to establish a work union will hopefully enlist the help or more protection of the government. It’s more protection, more advocacy for rights and better workplaces, which could mean a better working America in the future. Better pay, rights protected and a community working for the same equality in this workplace. Sounds like America is starting to turn in the right direction for all kinds of employees.

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