Labor unions, the spending, and declining memberships

US labor unions are up against the wall with a steady decline in membership are now faced with the additional challenge  of having to spend millions to fight Republican-backed, anti-union efforts.  Although they remain politically powerful, having helped Obama win re-election in Ohio, Nevada, and Wisconsin, they have been losing members for many years.


In the early 80s, union membership was about 30% but in recent years, it has declined to just 11.8%.  The declining numbers are in part the result of the country’s shrinking  manufacturing sector, but the situation has been compounded by recent efforts in  Michigan and Wisconsin to limit unions’ power.

And unions have spent $22 million in Michigan on a failed November ballot issue regarding collective bargaining, before  Republican Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation this month that stops unions from  making workers pay dues or representation fees to keep their jobs.

Michigan is now the 24th right to work state.  They also spent $20 million in Wisconsin to remove Republican Gov. Scott Walker this year in a recall election after he  signed 2011 legislation stripping most public employees of much of their  collective-bargaining power, but Walker still won that election.

The unions also spent roughly $24 million last year in Ohio to overturn an  anti-union measure.

This year in California though unions spent more to defeat  ballot measure that would curb dues collection than they did total on political  efforts in Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

James Sherk, a labor expert with the conservative Heritage Foundation think  tank, estimates Michigan unions, including United Auto Workers, will lose an  additional $100 million annually as a result of the changes and members leaving.

Fox News

The anti-union successes in the Midwest have fiscal conservatives thinking   they can make similar strides in other parts of the country.

Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Committee, said his group now  is eyeing Alaska, Missouri, Montana and Pennsylvania.

“Clearly, this is a strategy by the ultraconservatives to make us spend our  resources, but we have no choice,” said Lee Saunders, president of the American  Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the nation’s largest public  employees union.

Fox News

The best efforts for these unions now to gain members comes from the service employees, which includes many Hispanics and other immigrants.  In Las Vegas, Culinary Workers Local 226, is a fast-growing union of hotel  and casino employees in right-to-work Nevada.  More than 90% of the union’s 60,000 predominantly immigrant workers  opt to be dues-paying members.

“National unions need to look at what some of the folks out here have done,”  said Billy Vassiliadis, former chairman of the state Democratic Party.

Fox News

But still no matter what happens, union membership has also fallen in Nevada from 20% to 14.6%.

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1 Comment

  1. Reblogged this on The D.C. Clothesline.

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