Union density hits record low

Without democratizing unions and the creation of a unified actual leftwing movement, the recent relatively tiny gains of unionized workers (the majority of whom had to drag their unions into supporting them) are way too little, way too late. For instance, L.A. teachers made it clear a major part of this strike was to save public education from the privatizers/charter school advocates. If the new contract goes through, there is nothing I’ve seen that will stop the privatizers. Also, the majority of the class size agreement offers little to no change. Unfortunately, other recent “wins” from other unions follow this line. In West Virginia, the teachers strike was largely about healthcare costs. Their costs are still going through the roof. Radical (root change) is the only way out. Fundamental change of the world’s economic system. We are nowhere near taking even the first step of that journey. This takes nothing away from the blood, sweat, and tears people are putting into working for change. We have to unify outside these institutions and take over the ones that haven’t been privatized. Teachers can start by democratizing their unions – like they don’t have enough to do already…

LBO News from Doug Henwood

Union density—the share of employed workers belonging to unions—fell to 10.5% in 2018, the lowest since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began reporting the data in its modern form in 1964, down from 2017’s 10.7%. (See graph below.) After rising 0.1 point in 2017, private sector density fell back to match 2016’s 6.4%, the lowest since stats began in 1929. Republican governors’ war on public sector unions is having a visible effect: just 33.9% of government workers belonged to unions last year, the lowest since 1978, when membership was on an upswing—an effect that is only going to intensify as the effects of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Janus case, which forbids mandatory payment of union dues, spreads.

union density over time

There’s an old lie that unions are good for white men and no one else. That’s the opposite of the case. As the graph below shows, black women, for…

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