Union Membership Continues to Decline

By January 26, 2007Labor Unions

The annual Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)report on union membership is out, and it’s just more bad news for John Sweeney & Co. In the Fifties, unions represented almost 35% of the workforce. By 1983, that number had dipped to 20%. Yesterday’s numbers show that union membership has dropped to its lowest point since the government began tracking the numbers — to an embarrassing 12%. In the private sector, the news is even worse for labor, where they now represent a paltry 7.4% of all workers. Why? They continue to emphasize politics over organizing and at the end of the day, are selling a product most folks just don’t want to buy.

You’d think numbers like these would cause a little soul searching, but no such luck. Instead, they continue to work to find ways to lower the bar, to boost membership through artificial and anti-democratic means like the card check bill. Remember, this is the bill that’ll allow them to bypass elections to get new members. It’s a sign of their desperation that they’re willing to throw fundamental democratic principles out the window just to pad their numbers. What about doing it the old-fashioned way, by spending money on organizing and having fair elections? Nah, too hard.

So let labor congratulate itself on winning back the Congress for the Democrats — a feat owing more to the missteps of their foes than to their own actions. No matter. At the end of the day, their misguided focus on politics gives them a temporary political victory, one that comes at the great permanent cost of an ever-dwindling membership.

Click here to see the full BLS report.