Their membership has been declining for decades. They’ve been bedeviled by crippling new laws, and by a devastating U.S. Supreme Court decision just this week. From all appearances, it would seem that labor unions are an endangered species.

But here’s the surprise: Organized labor is showing new signs of life.

Last year, labor netted 262,000 new recruits. The movement notched several high-profile wins this spring, organizing 5,000 teaching assistants and graduate students at Harvard and winning an election in a small unit at Boeing in South Carolina, the state with the lowest union density in the nation.

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