The labor movement doesn't have much to celebrate this Labor Day. Congress first established the national holiday in 1894 at unions' behest. Since then, the American labor movement's fortunes rose to their zenith in 1956, when more than three-in-10 workers were union members, only to decline each year after. Today, only 12 percent of workers hold union cards. And if you discount union members who are public employees, barely 7 percent of private-sector workers are union members.
So why has labor unions' membership declined so far in the last 54 years? Some of it has to do with the changing work trends in the United States. We've moved from large-scale industry to service and white-collar jobs, from big employers to small business, and from lifetime tenure to job insecurity and frequent career changes -- all of which makes union organizing more difficult. But the biggest problem for unions has been their own leadership, which has grown increasingly out of touch with the very people those unions hope to represent. - Linda Chavez
I wrote this in 2007 -
This Labor Day - try and rememember that thousands of people struggled and many died for the right to form Unions. These Unions of skilled trades and industrial workers moved America's poor in to the great middle class that created the standard of living enjoyed by no other Nation in History.
Let's not be fooled by the enemies of that standard of living on the political radical Right or the Left. 'Redistribution of Wealth' strategies are the latest phoney labor Ponzi scams - stay true to genuine Labor Unions. Real Labor gives people the skills to move to the next economic level and engages in collective bargaining to protect workers rights, health and welfare and above all safety on the job. Labor is not merely a lobbying tool for slick politcal agendas.
Most of all let's remember the people who stood on the picket lines and suffered the lock-outs to make the American Dream come true.
God Bless the Working Woman and Man! Honor Labor!