In a well-reported article on Change to Win’s record since the group of unions broke away from the AFL-CIO, the hard-left publication, “In These Times,” includes comments from Andy Stern, president of the Service Employee International Union. From “Has the Change Led to Wins?“
Change to Win still sees explosive growth on labor’s horizon. At the federation’s second convention, held in Chicago in late September, SEIU President Andy Stern reminded delegates that the labor movement grew by 1 million members a year for five years after Congress passed the National Labor Relations Act in 1935, tripling the share of the workforce in unions. “We’re at the beginning of another historic moment,” he told delegates. “We have changed our unions. If we pass the Employee Free Choice Act, these unions will grow by 1.5 million members a year, not just for five years but for 10 to 15 straight years.”
Union membership in 2006 was 15.5 million, about 12 percent of the U.S workforce (only 7.4 percent of the private sector).
And an increase of 1.5 million members annually over 15 years equals 22.5 million new union members, for a total membership of 38 million — far more than doubling current membership.
Probably that’s just braggadocio, but still…awfully high hopes. Has the case for union membership become twice as compelling? There are a lot of UAW employees who have their doubts.
Stern and his brothers are counting on a single change in the law, a process change, to completely turn labor’s fate around. And by eliminating private-ballot elections, the Employee Free Choice Act does indeed represents dramatic reordering of the voting process, one that effectively eliminates that option of saying, “No, I don’t want to join this union.”
For union leaders like Andy Stern, replacing workers’ democratic choice with brute intimidation is apparently an acceptable step on the road to doubling union membership.
(Hat tip: Bret at Laborpains.org.)
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