In today’s Wall Street Journal, CUF Executive Director Richard Berman explained how the Service Employees International Union’s (SEIU) Fight for $15 has failed to recruit new union members. Citing the SEIU’s recently released 2016 financial filings, Mr. Berman finds that the union has spent at least $90 million on the campaign since its launch in 2012. However, in his words:
With membership declining, the SEIU’s cutback was inevitable. Since 2011 the union has shed nearly 21,000 dues-paying members, despite spending millions of dollars trying to unionize restaurant workers. The restaurant industry—a major unionization target for decades—boasts a union-membership rate of only 1.7 percent.
The union’s failure to convert the Fight for $15 into new members presents an existential threat to its business model. Andy Stern, the former SEIU president, argues that the union cannot continue paying for its social-justice work with revenue it makes from bargaining contracts “because collective bargaining is shrinking.” Harold Meyerson, executive editor of the American Prospect, admits that the goal of unionizing fast-food workers is “as elusive today” as it was when the Fight for $15 began.
The full piece, titled “Honey, I Shrunk the Union,” can be read here.