Skip to main content

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its annual report on union membership with the not surprising news that the rate of union membership continues to decline. For the past 30 years we have been fed a steady diet of neoliberal propaganda by the corporate media designed to convince us that unions are becoming an historical anachronism. It generally runs along such lines as:  Americans have all adopted middle class values and thus are personally invested in goals of national productivity. The inevitable effects of globalization require that American industry have the flexibility to compete with nations which have low wage work forces.  

I just ran across a very interesting article from Bloomberg that offers a very different take on the matter.

The Real Reason for the Decline of American Unions

It’s conventional wisdom that the post-industrial workforce doesn’t want to be unionized. But survey data show that workers’ desire to join unions has been growing since the 1980s, and a majority of nonunion workers would now vote for union representation if given the opportunity. So if workers want unions, why is unionization falling?
Canada’s experience offers another answer. Canada has gone through many of the same economic and social changes as the U.S. since the middle of the 20th century, yet it hasn’t seen the same precipitous decline in unionization. The unionization rate in the U.S. and Canada followed fairly similar paths from 1920 to the mid-1960s, at which point they began to diverge drastically.
Differences in labor law and public policy are at the root of this disparity.
The article then goes on to provide a more detailed comparison of labor laws in the two countries. The differences are striking and instructive.

The Wagner Act was a showpiece of new deal legislation that provided federal support for labor rights in selected industries. It led to significant growth in union membership and unions became a major political force. Once the Republicans regained control of congress in 1946 they teamed up with southern Democrats to pass the Taft-Hartley Act  which began the process for undermining and diluting union rights. It has been going on ever since. Unions are the victims of a sustained right wing conspiracy.

Originally posted to Richard Lyon on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:24 AM PST.

Also republished by Progressive Policy Zone and In Support of Labor and Unions.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site