The Los Angeles Times
Union membership is continuing to shrink throughout the country, even as companies add jobs in one-time union strongholds such as Michigan.
Union membership fell to 11.3% of wage and salary workers last year, down from 11.8% the year before, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said today. In 1981, 20.1% of wage and salary workers were unionized.
The latest numbers, while not a surprise, are the result of both political maneuvering and corporate negotiations. Both Michigan and Indiana became right-to-work states over the last year, meaning unions cannot require members to pay dues as a condition of employment. In other states, such as Wisconsin, state governments reduced the power of public employee unions...
The public sector is the last stronghold of the union movement, which may be why it is a target of conservative leaders eager to cut costs in budget negotiations. About 36% of the public sector is unionized, compared to 6.6% of the private sector.
Membership is much higher for older workers, another bad sign for the labor movement.
Only 10.7% of 25- to 34-year-old workers were unionized last year, compared to 15.4% of workers aged 45 to 54 and 16.4% of workers aged 55 to 64...
The data comes as Wal-Mart and other companies talk about bringing back to the United States the manufacturing sector, which was traditionally heavily unionized. In a speech last week, Wal-Mart Chief Executive Bill Simon said manufacturers had privately told him there was a "tipping point" when manufacturing overseas would be too expensive, and making things in the United States would be more efficient.
But new manufacturing jobs in the United States usually are not unionized, and traditionally pay much less than traditional manufacturing jobs did. When Suarez Corp. Industries, for example, moved its manufacturing of space heaters from China to North Canton, Ohio, a company executive said employees would make $7.50 to $14 per hour. Former employees in the same facility, which made Hoover products until the plant moved to Mexico, made $20 an hour.
The percentage of workers who were represented by unions in manufacturing fell to 10.5% in 2012, from 11.2% the previous year.
READ FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: 01/23/2013
Editor's Note: The balance here is this. When unions demand ever-increasing wages that business owners cannot afford (read: mandatory compensation that would bankrupt the business) jobs disappear. When jobs disappear the economy suffers. So, the question must be this, is a low paying job better than no job at all? The answer: Only when an opportunistic federal government robs from the productive to give to the non-productive in an effort to buy votes under the guise of "social safety net" politics...If government stopped intervening more jobs would return to the US and market prices would recover from their artificially inflated prices...remember, Capitalism mandates that goods and services are naturally titrated to the market's ability to pay...when government intervenes, artificially generated economics makes prices rise...Ergo, government intervention = higher prices...
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