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While steelworkers scramble to adapt, a new unionism grows

Freelancers Union Executive Director Sara Horowitz continues guest-blogging this week for the Drum Major Institute.

Last week, we learned that the United Steelworkers are going to merge with two unions in the UK. No one's ever tried this sort of trans-Atlantic partnership, and the unions themselves aren't sure how it will work -- whether they'll strike together, or support each other in negotiations, or just stand in political alignment with one another. What's clear is that old-style unions are struggling to find a way to adapt to new realities.

What they haven't acknowledged is that we're entering a third age of unionism in America. People don't spend their whole lives working for one company anymore, retiring with a full pension and health benefits. (Just look at the problems the auto industry's having with retirees to see how they old system can cripple a company.) Instead, you'll probably work for many companies or clients throughout your careerâ€â€?especially if you're among the growing ranks of freelancers. . .

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