What Unions No Longer Do

What Unions No Longer Do

Book - 2014
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Harvard University Press
From wages to elections, labor unions once exerted tremendous clout in American life. Today, the only thing big about Big Labor is the scope of its problems. While many studies have explained the causes of this decline, What Unions No Longer Do shows the repercussions of labor's collapse, particularly in the battle against inequality.

From workers' wages to presidential elections, labor unions once exerted tremendous clout in American life. In the immediate post-World War II era, one in three workers belonged to a union. The fraction now is close to one in ten, and just one in twenty in the private sector--the lowest in a century. The only thing big about Big Labor today is the scope of its problems. While many studies have attempted to explain the causes of this decline, What Unions No Longer Do lays bare the broad repercussions of labor's collapse for the American economy and polity.

Organized labor was not just a minor player during the "golden age" of welfare capitalism in the middle decades of the twentieth century, Jake Rosenfeld asserts. Rather, for generations it was the core institution fighting for economic and political equality in the United States. Unions leveraged their bargaining power to deliver tangible benefits to workers while shaping cultural understandings of fairness in the workplace. The labor movement helped sustain an unprecedented period of prosperity among America's expanding, increasingly multiethnic middle class.

What Unions No Longer Do shows in detail the consequences of labor's decline: curtailed advocacy for better working conditions, weakened support for immigrants' economic assimilation, and ineffectiveness in addressing wage stagnation among African Americans. In short, unions are no longer instrumental in combating inequality in our economy and our politics, and the result is a sharp decline in the prospects of American workers and their families.

Publisher: Cambridge, Massachusetts : Harvard University Press, 2014.
ISBN: 9780674725119


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May 24, 2014

Back in the early '00s, I almost exploded when I heard the Labor News Network reporting National Association of Manufacturers' press releases as factual news - - the most virulently anti-worker and anti-union bunch out there - - NAM - - whose first president and founding member was George W. Bush's great-grandfather - - unbelievable!
[Revised comment: Longshore would now be dropped from previous comments, simply unable to get the word out. Trumpka of AFL-CIO, and the female head of the SEIU are promoting the most anti-union candidate out there, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who approved of the military coup in Honduras whose first victims were, as usual, union organizers and leaders!]
So-called unions, or as the great thinker and social economist, Thorstein Veblen described them, business associations, have sold out their membership at every opportunity - - the ONLY two real unions today in America are the nurses unions [National Nurses United, et cetera] and the Longshore Union. Too often they vote as they did in Wisconsin, for anti-worker republicans and anti-worker democrats (Walker and Clinton and Feinstein and Cantwell and Obama, et cetera).

May 23, 2014

Perhaps should look at how business owners like Boeing have done their best to dismantle and reduce the influence of Unions. Also, there has been an increase in Unions like SEIU/Service Employee International Union in their work with low wage jobs like Janitors and Security Officers and Home Care Workers, etc.

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