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Union membership at lowest point since 1930s

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Business groups have long complained that the Obama administration is “labor-friendly,” but union membership actually has declined over the last four years to its lowest point since the 1930s.

The number of union workers fell by nearly 400,000 in 2012 compared to 2011, according to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Wednesday.

The number of Americans represented by a union dropped from 14.8 to 14.4 million Americans during that same period. Currently, 11.3 percent of all U.S. workers belong to a union.

That amounts to “a significant number of workers,” said Bureau of Labor Statistics economist Jim Walker.

It’s been a downhill battle for the labor community. Union membership has fallen by 3.3 million workers over the last three decades, even as more employees join the workforce, and about half of those losses have come under the Obama administration.

Richard Berman, executive director of the Center for Union Facts, suggested this report raises “serious questions about the health of the labor movement in America.”

“The continued decline of union membership, even during four years of a labor-friendly administration, is a sign that organized labor is no longer serving the best interests of its members,” he said.

But AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka blamed “right-wing politicians” for their “political as well as ideological assaults that have taken a toll on union membership.”

“Working women and men urgently need a voice on the job today,” he said in a statement, “but the sad truth is that it has become more difficult for them to have one.”

This decline comes as the labor community has been losing the right-to-work battle. Twenty-four states have laws that allow employees to opt out of union membership.

In 2012, Michigan and Indiana became the most recent states to pass such laws, and many more are considering similar legislation.

“The right-to-work movement is growing,” said Fred Wszolek, spokesman for the Workforce Fairness Institute. “There are more and more states that are making union membership optional, so of course their membership is going to fall. They’re definitely losing the battle, but they’re not giving up.”

Mr. Berman agreed that unions are weakening.

“I think they’re becoming irrelevant,” Mr. Berman said. “There will always be a union movement, because there will always be a business that treats its workers so badly they collectively organize to form a union. But I do believe it’s becoming less and less of a need for the workforce.”

In the labor community, public-sector workers have a 35.9 percent union membership rate, compared to the 6.6 percent of private-sector workers who unionize.

Story Continues →



by on Jan. 24, 2013 at 8:01 AM
Replies (11-20):
candlegal
by Judy on Jan. 24, 2013 at 8:56 AM

No they don't seem to but in the past they were not given that  option.  

Quoting Carpy:

And when given the option, the majority do not join unions.


lga1965
by Ruby Member on Jan. 24, 2013 at 9:04 AM
5 moms liked this
This anti-union mentality is anti-people. Unions are made of the people who belong. They unite to have a voice. With no voice, no power ,the workers are exploited by the CEO's.bosses, company owners.
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candlegal
by Judy on Jan. 24, 2013 at 9:09 AM

oh, so that is why so many people given the chance to join the union but are no longer forced to are choosing not to join.  They must not feel that they are being exploited.

Quoting lga1965:

This anti-union mentality is anti-people. Unions are made of the people who belong. They unite to have a voice. With no voice, no power ,the workers are exploited by the CEO's.bosses, company owners.


Debmomto2girls
by Debbie on Jan. 24, 2013 at 9:13 AM
I have never even even a proponent of unions. I am glad most of the hospital unions have gone. Only one hospital still has a union and it's a disaster. Union membership in my area has been declining for years.
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radioheid
by Libertarian on Jan. 24, 2013 at 9:18 AM
2 moms liked this

 Everyone knows I'm anti-union, so this is good news, IMO.


"Roger that. Over."

R   A   D    I    O    H    E    I    D

brookiecookie87
by Platinum Member on Jan. 24, 2013 at 9:26 AM
1 mom liked this

It seems pretty rare for us to agree. But I completely agree with this. Public Sector's workers are not really the people at risk of being abused by their employers.

It's the people in the private sector that face that risk the most.


Quoting candlegal:

I would rather see just the opposite.  It is the public sector workers who are costing the taxpayers so much money that so many cities are now broke.



Quote:

In the labor community, public-sector workers have a 35.9 percent union membership rate, compared to the 6.6 percent of private-sector workers who unionize.



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If they enforced bank regulations like they do park rules, we wouldn't be in this mess

Sisteract
by Whoopie on Jan. 24, 2013 at 9:32 AM
1 mom liked this

I agree. If the employees are cold, you give them all sweaters [or let them wear their own on the job], not turn on the air conditioner.

Quoting jllcali:

I think being "labor friendly" is, a good thing. Employees are like kidneys, if you take care of them, they will keep working, if you don't, sooner or later, you will have to replace them.


candlegal
by Judy on Jan. 24, 2013 at 9:37 AM

I have tried 3 times to put a pig flying in here but failed miserably  :)


Quoting brookiecookie87:

It seems pretty rare for us to agree. But I completely agree with this. Public Sector's workers are not really the people at risk of being abused by their employers.

It's the people in the public sector that face that risk the most.


Quoting candlegal:

I would rather see just the opposite.  It is the public sector workers who are costing the taxpayers so much money that so many cities are now broke.



Quote:

In the labor community, public-sector workers have a 35.9 percent union membership rate, compared to the 6.6 percent of private-sector workers who unionize.




yourspecialkid
by Platinum Member on Jan. 24, 2013 at 9:37 AM
2 moms liked this

 I think they will continue to shrink.  They have outlived their usefulness.  What is left are the legacy costs that cannot be paid.  This is a big contributor to jobs going overseas.

 

meriana
by Gold Member on Jan. 24, 2013 at 10:23 AM
2 moms liked this

A large part of the reason people opt out of joining a Union when given the choice if there is a Union presence is that they receive the same pay and benefits as their Union co-workers. They, essentially, are depending on other people to stand up for fair wages, benefits, etc. What they don't understand is that if Union membership keeps falling, eventually the Union will have no real power to stand up for anyone.

There are a lot of reasons that can be cited for companies off-shoring jobs. The biggest being much, much lower wages so Unions can be seen as part of the reason after all companies don't like paying wages that families can actually live on, let alone benefits.  

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