Mon Jan 28, 2013, 08:53 PM
HiPointDem (20,729 posts)
US unions' continued decline masks new forms of worker activism
America's long and steady march toward a fully disposable workforce continues apace, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this week. Union membership is at its lowest point in nearly a century, with just 11.3% of all workers – the same level it was in 1916....
Surveys show that most people wish they had more, not less input into their working conditions, and that a majority of non-union workers would choose to join a union, given the opportunity. Most do not get that opportunity... Union decline is nothing new: it began in the US in the mid 1950s and has been accelerating since the mid 70s. What's new this year is why: while deunionization was long linked to deindustrialization, now union losses are concentrated in government, the last bastion of organized labor...
Then came the recession, and a new breed of Republican governors who seized the moment as a chance to punish their political opponents. One of the sharpest declines has occurred in Wisconsin, where Governor Scott Walker stripped most state employees of their bargaining rights (notably excluding those unions that had endorsed him).
But if labor markets are adapting to the reality of a mostly union-free America, so too is labor activism. Last year, two of the highest profile labor actions in the country – one-day "flash" strikes at fast food restaurants in New York City, and at Walmart stores nationwide – were coordinated by groups that are not traditional unions: New York Communities for Change and OUR Walmart (though both received union support). And both strikes were carried out without the traditional aim of formal union recognition.
Networks of new, grassroots workers centers – including the Restaurant Opportunities Centers, Retail Action Project, National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and National Domestic Workers Alliance – have grown in sectors which unions have found nearly impossible to organize due to their contingent or informal nature. And their victories...have been achieved largely outside the purview of the body that governs union elections, the National Labor Relations Board.
Just a week before the BLS released its sobering report, Chicago passed a new law imposing some of the strictest sanctions on employers who do not pay workers the wages they are owed. It's an illegal but lightly enforced practice – and appallingly common in many industries...The Chicago law was passed with union support, but was spearheaded by another non-traditional labor group called Arise Chicago, formed from an interdenominational network of religious leaders...
Today, workers still want a fair deal. But now, they have to petition in the courts and at city councils for what they were once able to demand at the bargaining table.
5 replies, 649 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
US unions' continued decline masks new forms of worker activism (Original post)
|Omaha Steve||Jan 2013||#4|
Response to HiPointDem (Original post)
Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:23 PM
lib2DaBone (8,124 posts)
1. K/R The Scott Walkers of the world will not stop...
The Koch Bros will not stop until every American worker is brought to their knees... and agrees to minimum wage and deplorable living conditions.
Scott Walker, Rick Scott, Rick Perry... all the Koch Bros foot soldiers. Their goal is the enslavement of American workers ....reduced to 3rd world status.
Their goal.. is more money and more control for the top 1%. More for them.. less for you.
So far.. they are winning. Workers in America are silent..willing to accept the most blatant violations against the constitution and not say a word.