Saturday, January 22, 2011

Some "Favorable" Economic News

Union Membership in Companies Slumps to Record Low 6.9% in 2010

Union membership in U.S. companies slumped to a record low last year as the recession eroded employment in industries where organized labor represents the workforce, the Labor Department reported.

Labor unions represented 6.9 percent of employees in companies last year, down from 7.2 percent in 2009, according to data released today. Union rolls shrank to 7.1 million, led by a drop in the construction industry, where membership fell to 13.1 percent of workers from 14.5 percent a year earlier, the agency said.

“Today’s numbers are a telling indication of the fundamental imbalance in our nation’s economy,” said Kimberly Freeman Brown, executive director of American Rights at Work, a Washington-based group seeking to make it easier for workers to unionize. The group said “union membership levels fell drastically.”

Total union membership, including public employees, fell to 11.9 percent of the workforce from 12.3 percent in 2009, the agency reported. Unions represented 36.2 percent of workers in public-sector jobs.

Union representation has declined since 1983, the first year the agency collected the data, when 20.1 percent of the U.S. workforce and 16.8 percent of company workers were organized.
First of all, Public Sector Unions are a travesty; public employees work for The People - "collective bargaining" with, or "protection" from The People undermines and makes a mockery of public service. The fact that more than a third of public employees are unionized should be a red flag to every citizen in the country, and I'll wager that many don't even know.

As for unions in general, is there any wonder that membership is on the decline? The heavy industries, that were the core of unionization, are collapsing under the weight of not only poor management and failure to compete but also the weight of extravagant pay packages and retirement plans of unions. The fact that only 6.9% of American employees are now unionized is a grim indication of where we now find ourselves, and why.

Labor unions are an anachronism; surely a necessity in the early 20th century, but now nothing more than an expensive burden. The lavish lifestyles and exorbitant compensation packages of the remaining union leaders are testament to the fact that they care more about the perpetuation of unions than the welfare of the members.

Case in point is the "Card Check" Bill that's being pushed so feverishly by the unions.  This bill would remove employee anonymity when voting for, or against, union organization in a company.  This bill, formerly, and highly deceptively called the Employee Free Choice Act is anything but;  it leaves employees open to unions' age-old tactics of intimidation up to, and including, physical violence.  Lest you say that I'm fabricating this charge, I have personally been the subject of overt threats of physical violence at the hands of union organizers.  As to "Card Check"? The Unions see it the situation as somewhat dire:
Labor unions have pushed aggressively to enact the bill — formally, the Employee Free Choice Act. They view it as essential to reverse labor’s long decline.
Personally, I see the decline of unionization as a pendulum that has long needed to swing back to the side of independent employees working for independent businesses. There is a raft of laws and regulations that protect employees and unions are merely a redundant, expensive, relic of the past.

While there may be some areas and professions where collective bargaining benefits the employee as well as the industry, as a means of simplification and standardization, unionization should remain the increasing minority it has, thankfully, become.

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