What the Heck is a Union?
Pop Star Jonathan Van Ness, of Netflix's Queer Eye, does skit about unions, their history and their importance
Many people both young and old don’t know a lot about unions. Many also have some incorrect notions about what a union does.
Jonathan Van Ness, resident grooming expert on Netflix’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, recently talked about unions on his podcast Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness. He brought on Rebecca Givans, a labor studies professor at Rutgers University to explain what the heck a union is and what they do. As Van Ness said during the show “I feel like over my life, I’ve heard a lot about unions,” Van Ness said. “I think Jimmy Hoffa. I think mob, I think—I don’t know what a union is! Like, I’m a millennial!”
But once he got Givans in the room he asked “Unions, what are they? Are they something from the ’40s? Why does the Supreme Court seem to hate them? Like, what’s going on?” The 40-minute conversation ranged from the history of unions to opposition from corporate interests and the Supreme Court, the ins and outs of collective bargaining and the exploitation of workers like freelancers.