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Most U.S. Union Members Are Working for the Government

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posted on Jan, 23 2010 @ 01:50 AM

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.

Isn't this consistent with Obama's goal of assuring himself re-election?

Everywhere else, employment is falling steadily, but government employment, and public-employee union membership, goes up.

There are enormous political ramifications to the fact that public-sector workers are now the majority in organized labor.

At the same time the country is being squeezed, public-sector unions are a rising political force in the Democratic Party.

Of course, the "$787 billion "stimulus" has largely gone to preserving public sector jobs. All Obama has to do is buy a few million more votes and he's guaranteed a second, third and fourth term.

“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.”

Who would've guessed?

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.”

Who would've guessed?


posted on Jan, 23 2010 @ 02:09 AM
Truth is, this problem has less to do w/Obama and everything to do with shift in industry. Mfg. is gone. Service is in. To remain relevant and competitive, private sector has to move from union to non. Global competition is the driving force...

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.


[edit on 23-1-2010 by LadySkadi]

posted on Jan, 23 2010 @ 02:19 AM
I think you're both right. The unions are huge supporters of Obama and constitute a significant element of his get out the vote operation.

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.

I can tell you one thing for certain. I've been out of work for a while and am looking for a job. There are more jobs available in the DC area than in any other place in the country and by a very large measure. The government is definately hiring.

posted on Jan, 23 2010 @ 03:17 AM
I have an idea, why doesn't the government hire everyone. That will solve the problem. /s

I tell you what, everyone but me can work for the government and I will sustain the nation. Damn, I better get to work.

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.

I am so sick of the expansion of government. That is all our country needs, more lawyers and more managers. Got to make sure we are all doing what we are told.

S&F jdub

posted on Jan, 23 2010 @ 03:43 AM
reply to post by dolphinfan

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.

There is no reason for this. All border states have a vast source of cheap labor; manufacturing or service.

The West has priced most non-union service and manufacturing out of the market with an unrealistic real estate market. An acre in Nevada should not be any more expensive than an acre in Utah, New Mexico or Texas.

"The economy" has been skewed by governmental interference in the free market. Eliminate restrictions and market forces will set prices and wages.

When wages are normalized, domestic manufacturing can compete with any "advantage" from cross-border competition.


posted on Jan, 23 2010 @ 03:54 AM
reply to post by endisnighe

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.


I make my living helping people get past the "red tape" that equates to job security and 'power' for those in a decision-making capacity. It works the same in private as well as public service industries.

The first rule of "commerce" is to create a level of authority over which you have superiority. From owner to shipping clerk, every level of "service" includes the power to say "no."

Unions have legislated the ability to avoid that discretion, and eliminate the efficiency of any one person being able to say "yes" at any level.

The fear of the exercise of discretion is the greatest handicap to industry and innovation.

It wasn't always this way. Used to be, people were ready and able to "make a call" on any given situation.


posted on Jan, 23 2010 @ 04:06 AM
Unions destroyed Detroit, and if it's true that the government is proliferating this commie agenda, they will destroy the government.

posted on Jan, 23 2010 @ 04:16 AM
reply to post by jdub297

Glad you laid that out. My bosses back in Fresno could not understand me. I would find problems on the plans and just fix them. They would get all upset that I did not contact them and then get hold of the applicable higher up to make the decision.

Land Development company, I was the super for their larger projects. I would have 200-300 men working and any call to say an engineer to explain or fix their numbers on say the elevations, would cost me big time on completion dates. I would do extra hours to solve the problem.

They would tell me that is what they paid them for. I would tell them if I cannot solve the problem I will call the damn engineer myself.

I guess I will never understand the new way of doing things. I believe that is why the Japanese companies have such smaller management percentage compared to us. They do not have this compartmentalization of decision making.

I really have a hard time on giving up control when running things.

When we had the huge prices of gas and one of the excuses was that we only have so many refineries.

Remember this, IT WOULD TAKE 10 YEARS to build a new plant.

What a joke. Get me an architect, engineer and the plans for an existing plant and I would have one built in 1 year flat. Under budget and probably ahead of schedule. They had that collapsed overpass in California and that guy was my HERO. The state needed it done and done now. The guy gave him his bid and part of the contract was the state would have to keep their backsides out of his way. Completed ahead of schedule and under budget.

Government is the problem, not the solution.

posted on Jan, 23 2010 @ 04:39 AM
reply to post by endisnighe
I worked on a project called "Bridgepoint" where the field guys said "this elevation will not work."

Architecture, engineering, legal all said go forward. Every one of them tied to local government (under the table, of course).

Five years after "top out" the last lawsuit settled and the insurance companies for the architect, engineers and legal paid $12.5 million for the curtain walls and built-up roofs that leaked like sieves.

"No" was right, all along.

Discretion matters.


posted on Jan, 23 2010 @ 12:16 PM
reply to post by jdub297

The field guys are almost always right. We can see the real world application of the engineering being applied.

One thing I pointed out to my bosses, the little stipulation on the front of EVERY blueprint you get for a project. It usually states something like "these plans are just a starting point, any and all changes necessary to follow applicable building codes and other real world situations need to be" blah blah blah. Bunch of legal maneuvering to cover the designers of the prints from any and all liability.

You have to love our liable ridden society. I brought up elevations because the first thing I look at when starting to build a project I look at elevations of the ground and sidewalks around the buildings to determine what the overcut should be, for the rough grade. Dirt level necessary to take into account all the dirt spoils from the foundations, road areas, trenching requirements etc. This where I usually find the problems with HandiCap requirements and drainage problems.

I actually had one project, where a swale was actually at a higher elevation then the finish floor elevation, that was only 20 feet away. Yeah, that would work.

What I find funny is the permitting process on projects. It goes through all of the different city departments like the Fire Dept, water & sewer, plumbing etc. They do a redline corrections on the plans, then it goes back to the land developer, then back to the city for final plans to be approved. Now the city also puts their stipulation on it that anything missed is STILL the land developers liability to follow requisite building codes they may have missed.

If they put all of these stipulations on the plans, what exactly is the purpose for these different steps. I can point out hundreds of idiotic codes in the UBC and other code books.

Not saying the codes are all bad, but the main reasons for them are liability, not safety. If they try to pass that monstrous Cap and Trade bill again, the codes of ALL states will have to follow California's codes. I guess it would help me find work, since I built there for 5 years.

Okay, back on topic. All we need is more government, since red tape is a good thing. /s

posted on Jan, 23 2010 @ 10:05 PM
reply to post by endisnighe

Sadly, the "higher ups" have to answer to the local gov't officials. And these are made up of who? Anybody? Bueller?

Can we all say AFSCME?

If a job isn't "union-run", it is union-run nonetheless by the overbearing presence of gov't "authority" that cares more about conformity than common sense.

Every time I see a "public contract" opportunity, I see an opportunity for disaster, with no accountability.

Guaranteed employment for trouble-shooters like me.

I could tell you stories that would make your hair fall out; but you already know them, don't you?


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