Why You Should Care About the Decline of Labor Unions
Unions help the economy as a whole: Eric Liu
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 29, 2013 1:30 PM CST
Hundreds of demonstrators stand on the steps of the Washington State Capitol to protest against unions on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011 in Olympia, Wash.   (AP Photo/The News Tribune, Peter Haley)

(Newser) – Union membership is at a 97-year low in America, with just 11.3% of workers belonging to one. Because you're probably not one of them, you probably don't care about this low point—but you should, writes Eric Liu in Time. Not only do unions lift wages for their members, they also lift wages for the rest of us "by creating a higher prevailing wage," Liu writes.

"The presence of unions sets off a wage race to the top. Their absence sets off a race to the bottom." But most Americans don't see it that way—rather, many see unions "as special interests seeking special privileges, often on the taxpayer’s dime." But consider this: Workers in unions are making a better wage, and are thus less likely to rely on government assistance. "The weakness of labor is everyone’s problem—and its revival everyone’s opportunity." Click for Liu's full column.

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Concerned8888
Jan 31, 2013 4:04 PM CST
With a Union I saw this change in 3 years... At first, after 90 days, you got paid time and a half for working on Sundays, and holidays. Within 3 years, new contract...you have to be employed for a year to get that time and a half for Sundays and holidays. So, I wasn't working on Sundays and holidays, that worker with less than a year on the job was and that was regular time cause they gave them the a different day off to compensate for working Sunday AND holiday. This was ALL UNION APPROVED, by who, not me. But I was told that's what the members voted for. Shifty things go on behind closed doors.
Concerned8888
Jan 31, 2013 3:57 PM CST
I've been in many Unions over the years, first one was when I was working for The State of NY. You pay your dues, and hope that you may never need the Union to back you up if you get into some kind of trouble while at work. The Union at that time, CSEA, Local 413, I think, is/was a good one. One thing I didn't understand about them though was that they always would stick their neck out for us Union paying members, now I do. years past, and I got into the Food Service Industry. Supermarkets Union, Local 1500. These guys were rip off artist. Always on Management side, telling members to sign write ups and this of that nature. Came crunch time, The Union was and always will be on Management side. I'm glad there is a decline in Unions, who needs to throw away money to a Union when they are suppose to be in your corner, but all they do is call more trouble. Not all Unions are like this, I understand that. But glad there is a decline in Union membership all across the boars
hog_one
Jan 30, 2013 7:04 AM CST
I don't know if Unions are good or bad for the American worker. I have never belonged to one. However, my father did. He worked for the same company for 37 years as a union member along with the other 187 members of the union. When the company he worked for was bought out by another company and deal was made with the union and the purchaser. In that the senior employee's would be let go. This envoled 27 employee's (union members). So after the deal was completed my dad and the other 26 were dismissed from the company. Not one of them got any severence package, no money from the union they paid dues to all those years, no support in finding a new job with a company that belonged to that union. I guess you could say "screwed" by the so called brotherhood of union members. All because the union wanted tobe a part of this other company.........So from my point of view, are unions good for the american worker? I don't know. I've never belonged to one and never will.