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The Vital Role of Organized Labor


The Vital Role of Organized Labor

David Macaray

Question: What do the most “successful” countries in the world—i.e., the “happiest,” fairest, most enlightened, most optimistic, and most generous—have in common? Answer: The majority of them have quasi-socialist governments/economies, and highly unionized labor forces.

"The only foreseeable way for the vaunted American middle-class to make a comeback is by having the “average American worker” once again earn a livable wage and enjoy decent benefits."


So corporate America is terrified of unions are they? Those days are long over and pretending they aren’t does no one any good. It is like this author woke up like Rip Van Winkle and can’t face that the world has changed while he slept. We live in an America where most workers no longer expect to get a pension or benefits. To say corporate America is terrified of unions is absurd. Many unionized workers are city and government civil service. Has he looked at civil service jobs lately? To give workers those pensions, they extract their pound (s) of flesh. Many unions have ‘benefits tiers’ where new hires receive less than workers with greater seniority.

Moreover many of those union jobs now require many years on the job before the employees are vested (full union benefits members), many now require greater education qualifications than before including years of college etc. There are still some strong working class unions though not all that many. In an economy where good paying jobs are scarce, where millions of union jobs went overseas and workers desperate to make more than minimum wages will support ‘right to work’ initiatives! In that economy, corporations are not terrified of unions. In fact many with large work forces prefer a corporate union to serve as a middleman layer to resolve labor grievances. Moreover these budget cut attacks on Medicaid are virtually criminal given how many people have reached retirement age without union benefits or pensions.

Rip Van Winkle conning people doesn’t help.


Had a similar reaction, wereflea - particularly “terrified” during a time of long declining labor union numbers and right wing attack.

Not that drives to unionization should be abandoned - the ability of post-industrial service industry workers to unions is arguably not a foreclosed question.

In particular, in part due to Hispanics, things look a little different in Macaray’s CA “where the labor chant “Si, se puede” (Yes, we can) seems to be coming true for unions. While national union membership is at a record low of 11 percent (versus 20 percent in 1983), union membership is growing in California. While the nation shed about 400,000 union members in 2012, California signed up about 110,000 new union members, according to BLS data.”