Columns

Why Labor Unions Are Dying

AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

In honor of Labor Day, the United Auto Workers recapped some union history last week; tellingly, most of it was misleading or more than a century old.

The UAW trotted out bumper sticker rhetoric like “the elimination of child labor, establishing the 8-hour workday as well as the weekend, raising the standards for education, skill levels, wages, working conditions, quality of life for all workers, and a voice in the workplace.”

Like good leftists, they explained that their mission has a long way to go, including “fighting voter suppression bills.”

The voter suppression claim is intriguing, considering how anti-immigrant and racist national unions like the American Federation of Labor always were.

Back in 1954, roughly 35 percent of American workers belonged to a union. Today, it’s only around 10 percent, but more than one in three public-sector workers remain unionized, five times the rate of their private-sector brethren.

Last year, union membership decreased by nearly 430,000 people in the private sector, yet showed little change in the public sector, where taxpayer-funded salaries and benefits remain higher than ever.

Franklin Roosevelt may have done more than any president to assist organized labor, but FDR still realized unions had no place in government, writing in 1937 that “all government workers should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.”

The 32nd commander-in-chief added that strikes by public employees were “unthinkable and intolerable.”

In the United States, there are white-collar and blue-collar unions, of course, and even millionaire celebrities and athletes have them.

As a former teacher, I’ve written so much, including a 2009 book, about teachers’ unions’ constant graft and malfeasance. The past year-and-a-half absolutely confirmed their iniquitous intentions when they discarded decency and data to hurt America’s children month after month.

Labor unions, for their part, regularly ignore individual achievement and refuse to adapt to modern society. Keep up the resistance to change, and union membership will keep falling.

Have a good Labor Day.