AFL-CIO Struggling With Membership Signals Greater Problem

The AFL-CIO is facing decline. Richard Trumka admitted this week that the one-time labor giant is seeing a harsh decline in membership which is leaving him and his fellows in the upper echelon of the labor movement scrambling. Not only does this mean less individuals supporting the labor giant, but it means less money coming in. As a result, the power they have and the prestige they can throw about for political favors and kickbacks is waning as well.

The drop in membership is not all surprising. Those on the ground know that Union support is waning among workers. The disconnect between leaders in these movements, political pundits, and the actual workers is growing. This is a division that has been witnessed for quite a while and is now becoming economically apparent to the leadership of the labor movement. The AFL-CIO is, however, creating new inroads in order to build membership and change the face of labor, potentially forever.

Trumka is seeking coalition building as a way to boost membership in his organization. He has asserted that he will be looking to share members and membership with the NAACP among other groups. This not only would bring some liberal power players together for easier political maneuvering for the left but is also a clear admission by the group that they are truly struggling. No one in an organization, especially labor, looks to build membership by acquiescing power once retained solely. The fact that Trumka is willing to go so far as to release solidarity and work with others shows a clear problem and his public admission of it shows desperation.

Whether or not the AFL-CIO can bounce back and retain the membership it once had is not known. The simple fact that the aforementioned admission took place shows that the outlook is truly bleak. Maybe, if labor, liberal, and leftists realized that the true issue is not one of membership but of the fact that they are not speaking for the workers with their policy agenda they would progress moving forward. If Republicans, however, see that they have an opportunity here to bring into the fold a new generation of worker, the party could gain strength. Time will tell, though, if either side makes the right efforts in the right ways to gauge these disenchanted labor members.

Posted by KatynG at August 14, 2013 2:49 PM
Comment #369456

It therefore becomes imperative that liberal politicians create more and more government jobs to boost union membership, i.e. TSA, government run schools instead of charter, etc.

As a lifelong member of the IAM, I can say there are many reasons why the unions are losing in America:

Liberals may be able to win the WH or senate seats, but they are losing state legislators and governorships. The loss of the state governments allows the states to pass right to work laws. When given the right to pay or not pay union dues, employees will choose to not belong to a union.

Unions supported Obamacare and now the unions are seeing that Obamacare will hurt their own HC insurance; therefore members are no longer trusting their own leadership.

Union leadership has become part of the 1% that they preached against. It is the memberships union dues that is allowing the leadership to jet-set around the country, living a lifestyle far above the memberships.

Union leadership supports the liberal politician’s goals of amnesty for illegals against the membership; and the membership understands that illegals are taking jobs from union workers.

And lastly, there are many, many union workers who take pride in their work, and there are many union workers who are deadbeats; the unions protect the deadbeats, while those with good work ethics are required to carry the deadbeats. Unions are like communism and communism has failed because it provides no incentive to better one’s self. Whether government employees or auto workers; it is almost impossible to get rid of useless bad employees.

The original reason for the American workers to unionize has been lost. The days of the company run stores, company run state governments, and company owned police and sheriff’s departments are long gone. We have court systems and laws that protect employees and the unions are nothing more than a drain of personal wealth to be used to keep liberal and corrupt politicians in office.

I am a conservative and I do not support abortion or violation of my 2nd amendment rights; yet for decades, I paid union dues that were used to support politicians who went against everything I believed. Had I had the right to not be union, I would have.

Posted by: DSP2195 at August 16, 2013 9:42 AM
Comment #369457

I to belonged to several different Unions during my working years, the best job I had was the last, which I retired from, which was NON UNION. When working in a URW shop the department I was in was a Black sheep of the company we just paid our dues and had no say. Unions were good in the past but now are useless.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at August 16, 2013 11:56 AM
Comment #369461

I recall a story I read last year about the California “Teacher of the Year” who was laid off under the union last hired first laid off rule. That’s outrageous. The best teacher of the year got canned because of rules.

Rich and DSP stated it nicely. Unions don’t encourage excellence in its workers, they promote uniformity and adherence to the union rules and not performance on the job.

I believe every working American has the right to decide for themselves if they wish to join a union or not. When workers perceive a value to membership they will join.

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