Social Class Myopia: The Case of Psychology and Labor Unions

TitleSocial Class Myopia: The Case of Psychology and Labor Unions
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsLott, Bernice
JournalAnalyses of Social Issues and Public Policy
KeywordsAmerican Psychological Association, civil rights, economic fairness, justice, labor unions, psychology, satisfaction, workers’ rights, working class, workplace environment
Abstract

This article explores the potential for a research agenda that includes scholarship on working class issues and organized labor. Such an agenda is consistent with the official mission of American Psychological Association—to advance knowledge that benefits society and improves people's lives. I focus on our paucity of interest in the institution that gives the American working class a voice—the labor union. We know that work is one of the central focuses in the lives of most people and that the work experience is deeply implicated in satisfaction with life. The efforts of organized labor to achieve economic fairness and justice, and a healthy workplace environment, are intertwined with multiple corollary consequences that constitute a wide and complex spectrum—from physical job safety and economic security on one end, to the psychological benefits of heightened self-esteem, respect, dignity, empowerment, and affiliation on the other—all related to satisfaction with life. In addition, by advancing and protecting the rights of workers, unions are part of the larger movement for civil rights.

Reprint EditionPublished online before print 9-24-2013