The Trade Unions are Staging a Comeback

It’s satisfying to see us coming together as workers supporting the labor movement, which will hopefully be sweeping America, now that the Economic Stimulus package has a very good chance of being past in our Senate.

American trade union membership is increasing, after years of membership decline.  Currently membership is at a lowly 12.1% in 2008, by the Department of Labor report.  The new report comes as interest is growing in Congress to revive legislation that would make it easier for workers to form unions. Both sides cited the new data to bolster their arguments for and against the so-called “card check” bill, which would allow unions to form when more than half of a company’s employees sign cards in support.

Here are excerpts from an article published in the Washington Post today regarding the workers of America coming together:

American Union Ranks Grow After ‘Bottoming Out’ First Significant Increase in 25 Years

By Peter Whoriskey
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 29, 2009

The percentage of American workers belonging to a union jumped in 2008, the first statistically significant increase in the 25 years that the figure has been reported, reversing a long decline in union membership.

“We saw what looked like a bottoming out last year, and this suggests that we might have turned the corner,” said John Schmitt, senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

The number of workers belonging to a union rose about 428,000, to 16.1 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To business groups opposing card check, that jump indicates that the government doesn’t need to make it easier to form unions.

Roughly 275,000 of the union-member surge — about two-thirds last year’s gain — came from the public sector, according to the new federal statistics. Union gains in the private sector, by contrast, were meager.

“Part of what I think is happening is that the economy is shrinking but union jobs are not being shed because they have union contracts,” said Jim Walker, an economist with the Bureau of Labor Statistics who worked on the new figures.


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