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candlegal
Union membership at lowest point since 1930s
January 24, 2013 at 8:01 AM


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 →



Replies

  • IhartU
    by IhartU
    January 24, 2013 at 8:11 AM

     I know my husband's company brainwashes it's employees to think Unions are evil. He has to attend meetings about it and is told to tell on anyone he hears even mentioning a Union. They're seen in such a negative light now a days.

  • jllcali
    by jllcali
    January 24, 2013 at 8:14 AM
    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
    January 24, 2013 at 8:14 AM

    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.

  • jllcali
    by jllcali
    January 24, 2013 at 8:16 AM
    But the cuts should not come from police, fire and EMS, which is unfortunately where many cities are cutting funds.

    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.


  • candlegal
    January 24, 2013 at 8:18 AM

    Many are bankrupt or on the edge of bankruptcy and do not have a choice.

    Quoting jllcali:

    But the cuts should not come from police, fire and EMS, which is unfortunately where many cities are cutting funds.

    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.



  • jllcali
    by jllcali
    January 24, 2013 at 8:19 AM
    I don't have a particularly fond opinion of unions (or at least blue collar unions), but I find this attitude appalling.

    Quoting IhartU:

     I know my husband's company brainwashes it's employees to think Unions are evil. He has to attend meetings about it and is told to tell on anyone he hears even mentioning a Union. They're seen in such a negative light now a days.

  • jllcali
    by jllcali
    January 24, 2013 at 8:20 AM
    I know they have to cut funds, but they should start elsewhere.

    Quoting candlegal:

    Many are bankrupt or on the edge of bankruptcy and do not have a choice.

    Quoting jllcali:

    But the cuts should not come from police, fire and EMS, which is unfortunately where many cities are cutting funds.



    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.




  • candlegal
    January 24, 2013 at 8:24 AM

    It would help if more did what they did in Wisconsin and let some of these union members pay more of their own retirement and benefit packages instead of putting most of it on the taxpayers.   Some of these people get more money in retirement (paid for by the taxpayers) than the taxpayers make during their working careers.

    Quoting jllcali:

    I know they have to cut funds, but they should start elsewhere.

    Quoting candlegal:

    Many are bankrupt or on the edge of bankruptcy and do not have a choice.

    Quoting jllcali:

    But the cuts should not come from police, fire and EMS, which is unfortunately where many cities are cutting funds.



    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.





  • candlegal
    January 24, 2013 at 8:29 AM


    Average Annual Pension For Cops: $58,563

    2011_02_penpo.jpg

    The fight between Mayor Bloomberg and the police and firefighter unions is getting nasty. Last week, it was revealed that Bloomberg was interested in eliminating a $12,000 bonus to current and future NYPD and FDNY retirees, leading heads of those unions to call him a liar. Steve Cassidy, head of the Uniformed Firefighters Associations, said, "As we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Mike Bloomberg wants to say to firefighters and police officers who were there that day and didn't die, 'I'm going to steal money from your pocket.'"

    Bloomberg has pointed out that the city doesn't have enough money to pay generous benefits, saying yesterday, "We have to make a decision: do we want to send out Christmas bonuses or have more teachers?" However, unions are arguing that these payments are simply byproducts of longstanding deals—in this case, the $12,000 variable supplement fund bonus was put into place by former Mayor Ed Koch, who Bloomberg tasked to head pension reform.

    For what it's worth, the Manhattan Institute's Edmund J. McMahon tells the NY Times that the average annual pension for city cops who retired in 2009—not including the extra $12,000—was $58,563.

    Only retired police officers and firefighters, not those on active duty, collect the payment; union officials estimated that about 50,000 retirees currently receive it. All but about 2 percent of current workers start accruing the benefit after 20 years of service, and the city must budget for them. Those who receive disability pensions are ineligible.

    “I think one of the things you see here is the differing interpretations by workers and management over whose money it is,” Mr. McMahon said. “If you want to get the answer to it, well: Who has been dishing out $6 billion, or more, to all the pension funds to backfill the fund’s losses in the last few years? And the answer is, it’s the taxpayers.”


    And if you look at the NYPD's recruiting website, it gives average pension payments after 22 years of service (meaning someone who joined the NYPD at 21 could retire at age 43) at various levels in the NYPD. "The Department of Health and Human Resources reports that the life expectancy of a person born prior to 1990 is approximately 76 years old. The estimated earnings scale below assumes a life expectancy of 76 years."

    2011_02_pencap.jpg

    Oh, yeah, Bloomberg also wants the pension retirement age to start at 65.

    source

  • Carpy
    by Carpy
    January 24, 2013 at 8:54 AM
    And when given the option, the majority do not join unions.

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