Labor Unions Poised for a Resurgence with Change in Tactics

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), July 1, 2008 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Labor Unions Poised for a Resurgence with Change in Tactics

Byline: Andy Lewis For blue chip

Since private sector union membership peaked at roughly 35 percent in 1953, the number of American workers affiliated with labor unions has hit an all-time low, dropping to just 7.4 percent in 2006. But for those who assume that downward trend will continue, think again.

In 2007, overall union membership went up for the first time in years, and while the increase was small, experts predict the percentage of private sector union membership will continue to rise.

Why, in this competitive business climate, are employees rethinking the need for a labor union? The answers are varied and include job security, skyrocketing health insurance premiums and stagnant wages. Another factor is increased competition within unions themselves. Change to Win, a new labor federation that emerged from an acrimonious split within the AFL-CIO in 2005, has budgeted 75 percent of its annual budget - nearly $750 million - to organizing campaigns.

To fuel its resurgence the organized labor movement has fundamentally changed its tactics. Gone are the days of union organizers distributing fliers in the company break room. Today, organizing campaigns are conducted electronically through e-mail, blogs and Web sites, allowing the entire campaign to occur without the employer's knowledge.

In another significant change, unions are taking a more proactive approach instead of waiting for disgruntled employees to search out a union. Strategists for Change to Win, for example, identify particular employers and industries and run corporate-wide campaigns, targeting employers in the retail, health care, insurance and services industries.

UNITE HERE, another labor union, has spent more than five years trying to organize a single national employer. And the focus is not just on large employers. In 2005, 70 percent of union elections involved bargaining units of fewer than 50 employees.

Unions are also drawing on Congress for assistance. In 2007, for example, the House passed the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). While the bill eventually died in the Senate, many Washington insiders believe the bill will eventually become law regardless of who wins the White House in November.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Labor Unions Poised for a Resurgence with Change in Tactics


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?