Last year for the first time in history, organized labor in the United States represented more government workers than private-sector employees.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, private-sector unionization fell to 7.2 percent in 2009, down from 7.6 percent the previous year.
Labor’s declining relevance to workers in the private sector has many roots: Generally improved wages and job conditions, the imperative of workplace flexibility, global competition, and union corruption all play a part.
There’s another important but less recognized factor: Organized labor’s leadership has abandoned the very reason unions first came into existence, which is to represent the economic interests of its workers. In their drive to amass political power, union leaders have aligned themselves with left-wing and “progressive” groups who often agitate against the interests of union workers and show contempt for their deeply held beliefs.
Take the “One Nation” march scheduled for Saturday in Washington. The unions are major sponsors and organizers, busing in union members and doing PR for the effort. The SEIU touts its leadership, the AFL-CIO is making a huge online push for the march, and AFSCME is promoting the effort.
Then take a look at other groups on the list of endorsing organizations, the “partners.”