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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 (41-46):
Carmel63
by Bronze Member on Jan. 26, 2013 at 7:33 AM

I work as part of a union, and I make easily twice what others make who work for similar companies doing the same job.  The pay difference will allow me to send my daughter to an expensive private college.

Mom2Just1
by Gold Member on Jan. 26, 2013 at 7:50 AM
My dad's does.


Quoting candlegal:

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.  



Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
candlegal
by Judy on Jan. 26, 2013 at 7:52 AM

as you stated in your original statement and I will say again many unions do not do that.  Nowhere did I say ALL unions do not do that.

Quoting Mom2Just1:

My dad's does.


Quoting candlegal:

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.  




Mom2Just1
by Gold Member on Jan. 26, 2013 at 7:53 AM
I had no problem understanding your reply.


Quoting candlegal:

as you stated in your original statement and I will say again many unions do not do that.  Nowhere did I say ALL unions do not do that.

Quoting Mom2Just1:

My dad's does.





Quoting candlegal:

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.  






Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
candlegal
by Judy on Jan. 26, 2013 at 7:57 AM

I suppose it only appeared that way.

Quoting Mom2Just1:

I had no problem understanding your reply.


Quoting candlegal:

as you stated in your original statement and I will say again many unions do not do that.  Nowhere did I say ALL unions do not do that.

Quoting Mom2Just1:

My dad's does.





Quoting candlegal:

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.  







meriana
by Gold Member on Jan. 26, 2013 at 9:23 AM

 


Quoting Traci_Momof2:

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.

Yep, there is OSHA, which doesn't have the manpower to over-see every company that exists and yes, we have laws on the books to protect the worker, laws which at one time, didn't exist. The thing with laws is, they can be changed or even done away with. If no unions existed, the only voice being heard would be that of the corporations and they certainly would have enough political clout to get laws changed to their advantage. Corporations care about making as much money as they can, whether or not the janitor or any other worker can feed their family is really not their concern at all.  
.

 

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