Why Union?

This from a discussion of why unions may be failing in membership. Seems to me like a reason to be in a union.

In the United States, unions may have done their job only too well. Last year, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, private-sector workers who were members of unions typically made 23.1 percent more per week than their nonunion colleagues, up from a 22.4 percent premium in 2004.

A reason to buy American - protect good-paying American jobs:

Consider the ailing auto industry. In the past two months, the top two American automakers announced plans to cut some 60,000 jobs, most of them union positions. That's roughly the number of nonunion jobs created in the American transplants of the German, Japanese and Korean car companies who are dining quite nicely at the expense of the American companies once known as the Big Three, and at a table that used to be their exclusive domain.

The decline of unionization matched the decline of American manufaturing. I disagree with this author as to which is the chicken and which is the egg:

The number of representation elections in American workplaces has declined sharply. And the share of these elections won by unions is down to about half, from more than 70 percent in the 1950's. And even as employment in nonunion businesses has grown, union jobs have disappeared. Companies either moved them
overseas or, overwhelmed by competition, eliminated the work entirely.

I like that way it ends:
Despite the long odds, unions still have potential pockets of growth. In the public sector, where there is little competition, unionization rates remain at more than 35 percent. Mr. Bryson said that even in the private sector, there were still industries in which competition was modest and corporations could raise prices without fear of losing markets to rivals. On economic grounds, these industries would seem prime candidates for union expansion.

What kind of businesses are we talking about? Hospitals would be one place to look. Energy companies would be another. Or why not an even bigger prize? Perhaps the labor movement should forget about cars and focus instead on a company that has crushed much of its competition: Wal-Mart.

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