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For the first time in American history, a majority of union members are government workers rather than private-sector employees, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced on Friday.
In its annual report on union membership, the bureau undercut the longstanding notion that union members are overwhelmingly blue-collar factory workers. It found that membership fell so fast in the private sector in 2009 that the 7.9 million unionized public-sector workers easily outnumbered those in the private sector, where labor’s ranks shrank to 7.4 million, from 8.2 million in 2008.
According to the labor bureau, 7.2 percent of private-sector workers were union members last year, down from 7.6 percent the previous year. That, labor historians said, was the lowest percentage of private-sector workers in unions since 1900. Among government workers, union membership grew to 37.4 percent last year, from 36.8 percent in 2008.
“In four big states — New York, New Jersey, Illinois and California — the public-sector unions have largely been untouched by the economic downturn. In those states, you have an impeding clash between the public-sector unions and the public at large.”
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said: “ This report makes clear why the administration supports the Employee Free Choice Act,” a bill that would make it easier to unionize.”
Union labor has priced itself out of the global marketplace. Blue-collar industrial employment is outsourced to non-union low wage nations. Private industry must earn a profit or go out of business. “Union Made in America” is not an economic reality, given globalization and technology. Gone are the days of the workers versus management mentality. Labor must accept that to survive and prosper, they must become productive partners with business, not anti-productive adversaries. Welcome to the new reality!
The only stability is in the public sector. Organized labor contributes to political parties and campaigns, and therefore politicians do not want to bite the hand that feeds them! They placidly support government union organizing or remain neutral. Government services are not profit motivated and the increased labor costs are supported by taxpayers.
An unintended consequence of public sector unions is an entrenched bureaucracy where it is extremely difficult to terminate under-performing employees. The stereotype of lazy government workers is legendary. When you compound the union job protection clauses, it becomes the perfect storm for incompetence. Unions protect low productivity workers, support poor employee work ethics, and enable incompetency. The system rewards longevity and not productivity. The bureaucracy outlives the bureaucrats.
The economy has also changed and with manufacturing going away and the manufacturing that remains is going to non-union dominated states in the southeast.
Ever have to deal with any bureaucracy? I use to deal with city government in dealing with construction. Talk about people not willing to make a decision. Meetings, studies, etc etc etc. All they do is play the cover your # policy. Do not make any decision that can come back and bite you.