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Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

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 (31-40):
morrigan914
by Bronze Member on Jan. 24, 2013 at 1:15 PM
1 mom liked this
My union is the only reason I don't have to pay for my insurance and keeps my company from taking advantage of us, I love my union.

LindaClement
by Thatwoman on Jan. 24, 2013 at 2:59 PM

I have always found the strike pay to be a completely unacceptable term of employment with a union.

Besides, just because y'all think your work is worth more than it is currently being paid for doesn't mean I'm going to participate in destroying another North American industry by demanding more money.

Steel? Rail? Very nearly the airlines... the auto industry except for the government bailouts... 

Brilliant track record so far.

PinkButterfly66
by Gold Member on Jan. 24, 2013 at 3:14 PM

This is sad.

candlegal
by Judy on Jan. 24, 2013 at 3:37 PM
1 mom liked this

Yep that works for you but I wonder who is paying for your insurance and how it is working out for them.

Quoting morrigan914:

My union is the only reason I don't have to pay for my insurance and keeps my company from taking advantage of us, I love my union.


morrigan914
by Bronze Member on Jan. 24, 2013 at 3:52 PM
My employer, obviously. And for a company that has been around for more then 100 years and just posted their highest ever earnings last year, it can't be hurting them too much.

Quoting candlegal:

Yep that works for you but I wonder who is paying for your insurance and how it is working out for them.

Quoting morrigan914:

My union is the only reason I don't have to pay for my insurance and keeps my company from taking advantage of us, I love my union.


Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
meriana
by Platinum Member on Jan. 24, 2013 at 5:12 PM

 

 

Quoting Sisteract:

I just secured a new job- My current job is non-union and my new job is in a union (mandatory) facility. My responsibilities and job description will be basically the same, Nicu nurse. Other than a slight geographic change of about 70 miles, there is little difference between the 2 jobs. The union position pays 30% more- [I worked in this same unit for 20 years prior to moving for my husband's job relo, so I am very familiar with the system and management].

Having worked in both systems, I see the pluses and minuses in each. 

Non union jobs are much more flexible- flexibility makes people happy.

Union facility are run by the book- but tend to pay more.

 

 Congrats on the new job!!!

Traci_Momof2
by Silver Member on Jan. 25, 2013 at 10:41 AM

I think for the most part unions are obsolete.  They definitely served their purpose at one point in history, but now we have enough laws on the books that protect the workers that I think unions just aren't needed.

The company I work for is very adamant about keeping unions out.  This company treats all their employees very fairly and takes good care of them.  Unions would just be an added, unnecessary burden.  I support my company's position in keeping unions out.

Sisteract
by Whoopie on Jan. 25, 2013 at 10:51 AM

TY- my life of leisure is coming to a screeching halt!

Quoting meriana:



Quoting Sisteract:

I just secured a new job- My current job is non-union and my new job is in a union (mandatory) facility. My responsibilities and job description will be basically the same, Nicu nurse. Other than a slight geographic change of about 70 miles, there is little difference between the 2 jobs. The union position pays 30% more- [I worked in this same unit for 20 years prior to moving for my husband's job relo, so I am very familiar with the system and management].

Having worked in both systems, I see the pluses and minuses in each. 

Non union jobs are much more flexible- flexibility makes people happy.

Union facility are run by the book- but tend to pay more.


 Congrats on the new job!!!


Mom2Just1
by Gold Member on Jan. 25, 2013 at 11:25 AM

My dad is in the union by choice.  I am glad.  When he was off work for 4 months because of a non work related accident (that almost killed him)..his union paid his wages, he still kept his insurance, and his job.  My parents were able to still survive with help from their church.  

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candlegal
by Judy on Jan. 26, 2013 at 7:21 AM

Many unions do not do that.

Quoting Mom2Just1:

My dad is in the union by choice.  I am glad.  When he was off work for 4 months because of a non work related accident (that almost killed him)..his union paid his wages, he still kept his insurance, and his job.  My parents were able to still survive with help from their church.  


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