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Changing Attitudes On Labor Color Bay Area Transit Dispute

Publication Date: 
August 10, 2013
The New York Times
Norimitsu Onishi

Professor William B. Gould spoke with Norimitsu Onishi of The New York Times about the changing attitudes on labor and how California's greater immigrant and Latino population affects its organized labor. 

With the threat of a railroad shutdown looming, Alice Jorgensen was at the Bay Area Rapid Transit's MacArthur Station here on a recent morning, waiting for the service she uses 8 to 10 times a week to run errands and go to the library. A strike, she said, would be "a real inconvenience."

Like most people in the San Francisco Bay Area, a liberal, Democratic stronghold that has traditionally been supportive of organized labor, she favors unions.


"Unions in California have not been immune to the general tide against organized labor," said William B. Gould IV, an emeritus professor of law and a labor expert at Stanford University. "But they have a more solid base than organized labor elsewhere because California has a greater immigrant and Latino population."