Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Labor Day 2007 by Center for Union Facts

Decades after organized labor came into its own by improving working conditions for Americans, the movement is adrift. It is reeling from decades of corruption, embezzlement, internal rifts, and a record of customer service that makes the phone company look good.

(Click here to read our Labor Day op-ed in National Review Online)
(Click here to read another CUF Labor Day op-ed published in the Naples Daily News.)

Right now, labor is a mere shadow of its past. The kind of labor union that most of us grew up knowing just isn’t there anymore. Membership has been declining for decades, and despite economic realities, labor leaders continue to cling to the belief that Americans accept this idea of paying dues in order to keep their job.

Today, union officials have drawn up a new political agenda that should give all Americans shivers. It centers around stealing voting rights from employees and rigging federal laws to monkey-wrench business operations. And Americans should be concerned, because organized labor is aggressively pushing to expand increasingly sympathetic majorities in Congress and elect a President in 2008 that is beholden to their cause and willing to implement these scary provisions.

Labor leaders say they’re working for America’s employees, but their actions indicate otherwise.

Consider the state of the unions:

  • Union membership is down to 7.4 percent of private sector employees and down to 12 percent overall (government employees are highly unionized, at a rate of 36.2 percent) – that’s down from a high of 20.1 percent in 1983
  • Union bosses continue to be criticized for their lavish salaries, even while their membership declines
  • Even after several major unions split from the AFL-CIO to improve their growth, some have found little success