New unionization stats bad news for all workers

Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its findings on union membership rates for 2010. The overall unionization rate – the percent of workers who belong to a union – dropped from 12.3 percent down to 11.9 percent. In the private sector, the number fell to 6.9 percent, while the unionization rate in the public sector was much higher at 36.2 percent. The construction industry, where staggering job losses have taken their toll over the past year, saw one of the greatest drops in unionization, from 15.0 percent to 13.1 percent. When it was all said and done, the U.S. lost 612,000 good, union jobs in 2010.

We’re a country that believes in checks and balances – that’s why we have three separate branches of government, limitations on federal versus state power, and a free press. We also have the same set of principles ingrained in our economy, with labor unions counteracting the undeniable power of Big Business. But as union membership declines, so does this counterbalance to Wall Street and to corporate interests’ tendency to lower standards.

So while it may seem that these statistics do not affect you, especially if you aren’t in a union, the drop in union density means losses for all workers. When work standards decline – as they do without the presence of labor unions – the entire labor market suffers. Pay and benefits decline for all workers. Health and safety protections slip in all workplaces. And the voices of ordinary working people are lost on the job and in the halls of government.

Coming off the worst recession since the Great Depression, we’ve learned again how unchecked corporate greed wreaks havoc on the economy and our communities. Now is the time to rebuild and replenish the labor movement - the one institution that can hold corporations accountable to working women and men.

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This entry was posted on Friday, January 21st, 2011 at 3:47 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “New unionization stats bad news for all workers”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by AmericanRightsAtWork and Jason Smith, Michael Wasser. Michael Wasser said: I write about what today's union stats mean for all workers, union and nonunion [...]

  2. Joseph Garland says:

    What I can do?
    I readed to fight for the American works.

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