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Helping Across Generations: A Qualitative Study of Retirement Challenges among Unionized Workers

July 2019 - June 2022

The project focuses on workers and retirees from unionized job, such as auto manufacturing and the civil service. These jobs once were the backbone of the middle class in the United States, providing livable wages and good benefits, including pensions, for those without four-year college degrees. However, with the shift away from manufacturing and declines in union membership since the 1960s, jobs that once were able to provide a high school graduate with a middle-class income have been replaced with low paying service sector work. Today’s worker with a high school degree or some college on average earns $4,000 to $6,000 less than their baby boom counterpart (Pew Research Center 2014) and, importantly, is much less likely to be a member of a labor union.

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