Every Democrat presidential candidate is promising to create more jobs – specifically union jobs. It is so much a part of their stump speeches that one might conclude that “union jobs” is one word.
This is not entirely new. Since the turn of the Twentieth Century, Democrats have pledged their allegiance to the leaders of big labor – but not always to the workers they purport to represent. We have frequently seen union workers vote against the endorsements and contributions of the union bosses.
This was evident in the election and re-election of President Reagan – and in the election of President Trump. Trump could not have won in such industrial states as Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and West Virginia without significant votes from union workers and their families.
The Democrats’ pledge of fealty to the union bosses is understandable. Unions and union leaders are huge donors to Democrat candidates – almost to the exclusion of Republican candidates. Whenever you hear a Democrat promising union jobs, listen for the ka-ching of the cash register.
While the union leadership endorses and donates to Democrats in excess of 90 percent – and in some cases 100 percent – they do not represent their rank-and-file membership. In the latest Labor Department statistics, 15 percent of Democrats are members of a union AND 11 percent of Republicans belong to unions. Only eight percent of independents are union members. In other words, most union members are not necessarily Democrats.
But as the saying goes, talk is cheap. All those Democrat candidates promising “good union jobs” – as if non-union jobs are not good – have been failing in their promises to the labor bosses for generations. Whether Republicans or Democrats are in charge in Washington, the number and percentage of union jobs continue to decline.
In the most recent reporting year, 2019, slightly less than 10 percent of American workers were union members. That number is boosted by “protective class service occupations” – bureaucrat-speak for government workers. The protective workers have held firm over the past couple years at 33.6 percent unionization. The private sector is a piddly 6.2 percent unionized – and has continued its drop year-after-year.
It is with government workers that the union money has been most effective for a number of reasons. Most government bureaucrats are pro-union Democrats, so they are more likely to unionize. Elected officials are more likely to cave-in to public sector union demands than is management of private sector businesses.
The percentage of union workers in the private sector would be even lower if it were not for the unfair practices of public sector unions, government employees and elected officials. For no other good reason than to protect unions, virtually all government contracts require that private companies bidding for business must be union shops. This is not only unfair to private sector contractors, but greatly increases the costs to the taxpayer.
In many ways, the major unions – especially those under the umbrella of the AFL/CIO – hold a disproportionate influence in matters of government policy based largely – if not solely – on political contributions. For example, it is assumed that the leadership of the Department of Labor must be chosen by and acceptable to that small clique of union leaders. For all intents and purposes, the Department of Labor is the Department of ORGANIZED Labor – even though the labor force is more than 90 percent non-union.
You can count on Democrats to sing the praises of organized labor – at least the cabal of union chieftains who suck the money out of their members and use it for their own narrow partisan advantage. Maybe that is why workers – union and non-union – are passing right-to-work legislation in state after state. Maybe that is why union workers are fighting against their dues being used to promote causes and candidates that do not reflect their views and values. Maybe that is why union membership and influence continues to decline – except within the Democratic Party, of course.
So, there ‘tis.