The Bureau of Labor Statistics just released their annual report on union membership. A lot of people are lamenting union density, which declined slightly—but that isn’t the whole story. Here are our three takeaways from the report:
1. Union membership grew by 273,000. Corporate giants like Starbucks and Amazon are spending millions of dollars to intimidate and harass workers when they organize. Despite that, 273,000 workers were able to win their union in the face of blatant union-busting. We have the momentum. That is a sign of worker power and resilience that we celebrate.
2. Union density declined because of broken labor laws, not because of disapproval or disinterest. Unions currently have a 60-year high approval rate. Last year there was a 53% rise in union elections. It’s clear: Workers want unions. So why did union density decline?
Because non-union jobs were added faster than we could unionize them. This isn’t surprising. Workers face a stacked deck when they organize a union. And corporations know that stalling an organizing drive is an effective union-busting tactic.
3. We have work to do. If we want higher union density and more union members, we need labor laws that actually protect our right to organize and that hold union-busting corporations accountable. Every worker in America who wants to join a union should be able to. It’s as simple as that.
We’re ready to fight corporations, bad bosses, paid-off politicians and anyone who wants to take away our right to organize and join a union.