Union workers striking at General Motors and the ongoing push for a higher minimum wage may be a sign of a new era of worker activism.

Workforce and labor expert Carl Van Horn says "even though profits of companies have been going up, people's paychecks haven't been going up accordingly."

Van Horn is the director and distinguished professor of public policy at the Rutgers John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development.

"What's happened is a lot of workers, whether they're a union or non-union, have begun to say, 'where's our share of this pie?' And so what you're seeing is they're in a better position, they're feeling more stable and able to leave the job if they don't succeed."

Van Horn also points out that the booming economy has emboldened some workers, union and non-union, to at least consider greener pastures.

"During the depths of the recession, there were six applicants for every job opening. Today there are more job openings than there are applicants," he said.

And he says there's also a push by some part-timers to be treated more like full time employees.

Joe Cutter is the senior news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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