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Union membership

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  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    The nations labor unions saw sharp declines in membership last year,the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Wednesday. The overall union membership rate fell from 11.8 percent to 11.3 percent of all workers the lowest level since the 1930's. More than half of those lost were government workers-about 240,000. In the private sector the rate of membership fell from 6.9 to 6.6 percent.

    I guess I should not be surprised, but I was when I read these numbers as reported by the AP. Anyone else surprised by this?
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    I personally feel that it's only a matter of time until there are no union jobs. There are laws to enforce safe work places. There is such a thing as too strong unions that price the workers out of jobs. It's just too easy for employers to pull up the stakes and move to Mexico or any other impoverished nation. I will bet that in 20 years there will be no union workers at all. I mean no offense to those who feel strongly in favor of organized labor. I just think that it will become a part of our past.

    At age 18 I spent 2 years in the local Sheet Metal Workers union.
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    Mcclellan I think you may be correct about the private sector jobs. As far as police, fire, teachers they seem stronger and may keep their current standing and those can't be outsourced to other countries. As far as the jobs that can be shipped overseas such as manufacturing then those may continue to lose union membership. I was surprised that the number was so low and before Obamas second term is out we may be down to single digits if these trends continue.
  • Democrat
    Lawrence, MA
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    The old IWW ( Industrial Workers Of The World ) understood that workers and capitalists have nothing in common. The union preached that a struggle must go on until the workers seized the means of production and replaced the capitalists. This is the reason the political arm of capitalism, the government, smashed up the IWW , but allowed the A F of L to continue organizing. The A F of L posed no ultimate threat to capitalism and, in fact. required an adverserial system in order to flourish. If capitalism had somehow magically disappeared there would no longer have been any need for the AFL. That union is now on its death bed and we have entered an era where labor in the US will continue the decline that is well underweigh. A grim forecast ? You bet. And of we think we can turn this around with appeals to the government......What am I saying ? That's exactly what the majority of workers have been taught to think. We need a mass movement in the US to either replace the current economic system or bring it under the strict control of the majority of citizens. Since that is not likely we're probably better off putting on our patriotic blinders and spending our time with American Idol and the Super Bowl.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    jamesn Wrote: Mcclellan I think you may be correct about the private sector jobs. As far as police, fire, teachers they seem stronger and may keep their current standing and those can't be outsourced to other countries. As far as the jobs that can be shipped overseas such as manufacturing then those may continue to lose union membership. I was surprised that the number was so low and before Obamas second term is out we may be down to single digits if these trends continue.
    I agree with you. They are in the fortunate position where they don't seem to be able to be replaced.
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    Austerity and union jobs are tied together this way. A society that believes in a certain standard of living will bring back unions when the SOL drops, trade rules will also change. But if you can convince people they are living way beyond their means then workers are doomed. As is the overtime rules, child labor laws, safety and all other rules that take away from profits.
  • Independent
    New Hampshire
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    I was a Union member while I worked at MIT, in Cambridge, MA in the Late and Great 1950's. I do know what they did when they were transforming the "Working for the Company Store" conditions. I do not want to talk about the criminal element which took them over just what good they had done can almost off set the other aspects. Living consitions at Mining Camps and Mill Comunities were not all that great and pay did not allow for much ever happening to improve things Unions were responsible not only for improving nealth and safety but by raising the standard of living for an entire nation. We still read about how companies side set regulations governing these issues. If you disagree just think about the Gulf Oil Spill and the steps taken by the oil companies that allowed that to happen. Several times in recent years I have read articles covering the failure of to comply with safety issues. This is a problem which remained with us and we can not count on some industries to act responsibly.
    In other posts in this section I have read that it was Unions which cause the loss of manufacturing jobs. UAW is not making the price of cars higher, check car prices and you will find that some of the more expensive cars are manufactured by non union factories. If the statement was true there woulld be a major difference in price. I also do not believe that Unions were responsible in the first place it appears that the increased income for middle class America is more to blame. I have had friends and relatives who work for both Ford and GM.
    We attempt to eliminate povety and one of the ways we do this is by raising the minimum wage. As the minimum wage increases, middle America demands an increase folowed by upper income demanding more. The top 1% doesn't really care as they probably just done care. The effect of the cycle hoes nothing more than raising the numbers for all.