Better Bargain

Could the horizons be broader for architecture unions?

Unlike for the WGA and SAG members on strike for months under the LA sun, it was a lukewarm labor summer for architectural workers. A glimmer of optimism came in May with Snøhetta’s New York and San Francisco offices announcing their efforts to form a union, but those hopes were dashed in July by a tight 35–29 vote against unionization.

Broadly untenable economic conditions—“post”-Covid inflation, Biden ending the pause on student debt payments, rents as a portion of income topping 50 percent—have likely provided the impetus for these and many other unionization campaigns and labor actions across the country. The promises of higher wages, greater job security, paid sick leave, health insurance, retirement funds, and protection from dangerous working conditions form the bare minimum of what is required for survival in the US. They are also at play for UPS workers and WGA members, who are demanding, respectively and among other things, air-conditioning in delivery vehicles and pension and health care contributions.

In this context, architectural workers could be said…

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