The Work Week, Episode 1: The Strike That Changed U.S. Labor : Planet Money : The Indicator from Planet Money The 1937 union agreement between General Motors and the United Auto Workers union ushered in a period of tremendous worker prosperity and union strength. But today, labor is nowhere near a powerful as it used to be. What happened?

The Work Week, Episode 1: The Strike That Changed U.S. Labor

The Work Week, Episode 1: The Strike That Changed U.S. Labor

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Sheldon Dick/Getty Images
Gm workers strike
Sheldon Dick/Getty Images

This episode is a part of our week-long series, The Work Week, where we're rerunning some of our favorite stories about the labor market. This story originally ran in February of 2019.

On February 11, 1937, General Motors and the United Auto Workers union signed a landmark agreement. A union contract. The relationship with U.S. automakers and the labor movement ushered in a period of tremendous worker prosperity and union strength that lasted decades. Today, though, unions are a shadow of their former selves and are sometimes even vilified for dragging down companies and hamstringing workers. What happened? How did unions lose their mojo?

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