Can Unions Survive Communism?

Can Unions Survive Communism?

Workers have had a difficult time in the move to a market economy in Eastern Europe. In the first few years after 1989, prices skyrocketed and real wages plummeted. Hundreds of thousands have lost once-secure jobs. In June 1996, even the Gdansk Shipyard, the factory that set in motion the fall of communism with its Solidarity strike of 1980, was thrust into bankruptcy proceedings. New jobs often lack basic health and safety protections, and are frequently outside the legal economy altogether. Social benefits paid for by factories have eroded dramatically, as enterprises change from being social institutions to economic ones. Overall, labor has taken a beating.

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