Bad News for Labor This Labor Day
From Linda Chavez:
"The labor movement doesn't have much to celebrate this Labor Day. Congress first established the national holiday in 1894 at unions' behest. Since then, the American labor movement's fortunes rose to their zenith in 1956, when more than three-in-10 workers were union members, only to decline each year after. Today, only 12 percent of workers hold union cards (see top chart). And if you discount union members who are public employees, barely 7 percent of private-sector workers are union members (see bottom chart).
So why has labor unions' membership declined so far?
Some of it has to do with the changing work trends in the United States. We've moved from large-scale industry to service and white-collar jobs, from big employers to small business, and from lifetime tenure to job insecurity and frequent career changes -- all of which makes union organizing more difficult.
But the biggest problem for unions has been their own leadership, which has grown out of touch with the very people those unions hope to represent."
Read more here.
Interesting Union Facts:
1. Half of all American union members live in just six states: California, New York, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey (from Linda Chavez's article).
2. The bottom chart above shows that in 2009 there were more public-sector union members (7.89 million, 37.4% of all government workers) than private-sector members (7.43 million, 7.2% of all private workers) for the first time ever.