Labor Union & the American Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Surveys have found that the public find business leaders to be more trustworthy than union leaders and many members of non-union families disapprove of unions. Other factors include the increased trend towards smaller sizes of new factories. Moreover, the American workforce has changed significantly in terms of composition, i.e. age, sex, education and race. Some cyclical phenomenon in the political, social and economic environment in the U.S. has also lead to the decline in union membership. These cyclical explanations for the decline include economic factors like the rising unemployment rates in the U.S., the mounting influence of the Republicans since 1952 in national politics, and the drop in class conflicts in the country. The unions also must take a major portion of blame for failure to deploy significant portions of their budgets for organizing new union activities. (Caplow; Bahr; Chadwick; Modell, 1994); (Goldfield, 1989)

As of 2006, only 12.5% of the current American workforce belongs to labor unions. This has had an adverse effect on the American worker's "right to organize and collectively bargain." Organized labor is the most effective way to curb the influence of corporate powers in the Congress, the most powerful method to force employers to provide fair treatment of workers, and one of the most efficient means to protect the rights of the workforce. The illegal and unfair tactics used by many employers can only be curbed through the medium of organized labor. It is a fact that the decline in the influence of labor unions has resulted in a downward pull on salaries and other benefits in the private sector. As many as 50% of the workforce today do not possess retirement security, 16% do not have health insurance, and there has been a loss of real income for ninety percent Americans since 1973. ("Divide and Conquer," 2009); (McFadyen, 2006)

No other developed country of the world has such a wide chasm between the rich and the poor with the top one percent of the workforce possessing three-fourths of the country's wealth. It has been observed that states where unions are weak, the spending on workers' compensation, unemployment insurance and education is also low. Again, in these states, a larger percentage of people live in poverty and households have a lower income. Current laws which give the right to organize unions are obviously grossly inadequate to protect the interests of the workers and therefore, labor unions must find ways and means to reorganize their movement so as to be able to provide fair employment rights to the American workforce. ("Divide and Conquer," 2009); (McFadyen, 2006)


Bennett, James T; Kaufman, Bruce E. (2002) "The future of private sector unionism in the United States" M.E. Sharpe.

Caplow, Theodore; Bahr, Howard M; Chadwick, Bruce A; Modell, John. (1994) "Recent Social

Trends in the United States, 1960-1990" McGill-Queen's University Press.

Farber, Henry. S; Krueger, Alan. B. (1992) "Union Membership in the United States: The

Decline Continues" NBER Working Paper, No. W4216. Retrieved 14 April, 2009 from

Goldfield, Michael. (1989) "The Decline of Organized Labor in the United States" University of Chicago Press.

McFadyen, Deidre. (2006) "Movement in decline" Retrieved 14 April, 2009 from…

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