**The Revolt of the College-Educated Working Class**
**Since the Great Recession, the college-educated have taken more frontline jobs at companies like Starbucks and Amazon. Now they’re helping to unionize them.**
**By Noam Scheiber, The New York Times, April 28, 2022**
**Over the past decade and a half, many young, college-educated workers have faced a disturbing reality: that it was harder for them to reach the middle class than for previous generations. The change has had profound effects — driving shifts in the country’s politics and mobilizing employees to demand fairer treatment at work. It may also be giving the labor movement its biggest lift in decades.**
**Members of this college-educated working class typically earn less money than they envisioned when they went off to school. ...Support for labor unions among college graduates has increased from 55 percent in the late 1990s to around 70 percent in the last few years, and is even higher among younger college graduates...filings for union elections are up more than 50 percent over a similar period one year ago...**
**Though a minority at most nonprofessional workplaces, college-educated workers are playing a key role in propelling them toward unionization, experts say, because the college-educated often feel empowered in ways that others don’t. “There’s a class confidence, I would call it...”** [end quote]
This is a perfect example of the “elite overproduction” that Peter Turchin described in his books, “Secular Cycles” and “Ages of Discord,” where he predicted that 2020 would be a year filled with social strife.
Of the three factors driving social violence, Turchin stresses most heavily “elite overproduction”—the tendency of a society’s ruling classes to grow faster than the number of positions for their members to fill.
Social and political revolutions have been driven by underemployed members of the upper and educated classes many times before. They are brought up with certain assumptions that society can’t support because there are too many of them. They become discontented activists. Many are articulate and stir up the larger masses of less educated who are suffering from the same problems. But, in many cases, the lower class members of the revolution turn on and destroy the higher-class instigators.
Will the 2020s see a resurgence of unionization in the U.S.? If so, the Macroeconomic balance would be shifted, with more power to the workers. But a similar shift help drive offshoring in the 1970s-1980s since rising union incomes pushed managers toward lower-paid foreign workers (and automation).
Time will tell.