November 27, 2023
The Academic Minute recently published a podcast featuring Jay Zagorsky, Associate Professor of Markets, Public Policy, and Law discussing The International Typographical Union as an example of how a powerful union failed in just decades.
When the ITU was formed in 1852, typographers’ work was steady and secure with no technological shocks. In later years, with advancements in new technologies like the Linotype, phototypesetting, and computers, the ITU’s security was threatened as printing could now be done much easier and cheaper than typographers could.
Zagorsky adds, “The ITU’s history shows the challenge facing union leaders. Higher demands today can push companies to more rapidly automate, which destroys union jobs tomorrow.”
Even with unions winning concessions, their futures are still uncertain with rapid advancements threatening jobs.