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Thu Mar 7, 2013, 03:59 PM

Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO Chief, Reflects On Unions' Thinning Ranks, Calls For New Strategies [View all]

Source: Huffington Post

Dave Jamieson

Just as the percentage of Americans belonging to a union has fallen to a historic low, the leader of the largest labor federation in the country on Thursday offered a blunt assessment of organized labor's thinning ranks, arguing that unions need to look to new models for organizing workers and put a renewed focus on young people.

"We must open up union membership and make the benefits of representation available to all workers," said Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, speaking at a University of Illinois event in Chicago. "We need to create new models of worker representation. We need to be more strategic and forward-looking. And we need to face this challenge collectively."

It's a message that the AFL-CIO will amplify in the coming months leading up to its September convention, as part of a broader conversation on the weakened state of organized labor in America. Although the rate of union membership has been falling for decades, it dropped by more than usual in 2012, down to 11.3 percent among the entire workforce and 6.6 percent among the private sector, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The stark numbers are due, in part, to both global economics and public policy. The workforce for traditionally unionized industries like manufacturing has been shrinking for years, paired with the growth of service-sector jobs where unions historically have had little presence. More recently, states like Wisconsin and Michigan have enacted legislation aimed at further limiting unions' strength, forcing groups like the AFL-CIO to wage costly state-level political battles.

FULL story at link.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/07/richard-trumka-afl-cio-speech_n_2828671.html?utm_source=Alert-blogger&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Email%2BNotifications


AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka reflected Thursday on the state of organized labor in the U.S., and its future. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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Reply Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO Chief, Reflects On Unions' Thinning Ranks, Calls For New Strategies [View all]
Omaha Steve Mar 2013 OP
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mac56 Mar 2013 #2
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xtraxritical Mar 2013 #4
leftyohiolib Mar 2013 #5
pampango Mar 2013 #8
xtraxritical Mar 2013 #10
pampango Mar 2013 #11
Starry Messenger Mar 2013 #12
Xolodno Mar 2013 #6
Dyedinthewoolliberal Mar 2013 #7
99th_Monkey Mar 2013 #9
Proletariatprincess Mar 2013 #13