Union membership, although still in a declining trend, remains a powerful but weakening force in this country. If it becomes necessary, or to their advantage, they still have the power to shut down large companies and large segments of the economy if they so desire. Unions may be relatively docile at the moment; however, they cannot be ignored and are still a force to be reckoned with by management. This may not be as far off as some may think, or at least some hope. In four out of the last five years, union members have received smaller pay raises than nonunion members; and, in three out of the last four years, real wages of union members have fallen (wage raises have not kept up with inflation).38 If past history is any example, management can expect union demands to start increasing in the very near future.
This chapter covers the period from 1930 through the present. Major European and American influence of the period is discussed to show the impact of economists, philosophers, psychologists, business leaders, and presidential administrations on the growth and change in business moral-ethical thinking and conduct, and social responsibility. It is a period when American influence predominates, the country goes through a devastating depression and recovers, old and new business expand and prosper, unions come into their own, new social legislation is generated and passed at a rate and in a variety of areas never before seen in this country, and moral and ethical conduct continues to degenerate as all reference to the Bible and the Christian work ethic is removed from the school system and replaced by what Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart called a "religion of secularism."