While probably not a big deal here in union unfriendly South Dakota (a previous employer threatened to shut down rather than allow employees to unionize), John McCain joined his new BFFL Rudy Giuliani on the Jay Leno Show yesterday. That appearance which required crossing a Writers Guild of America picket line, falls in line with earlier appearances on Leno by other GOP hopefuls Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Mike Huckabee, and again re-enforces just how much the Republican party cares about working Americans.
I used to think that labor unions had long since lost their luster and in recent times had caused more problems than they solved and union membership had followed those thoughts. But a funny thing happened last year that hadn’t happened in at least 25 years, union membership actually increased.
For the first time in the past quarter of a century, in 2007 U.S. unions increased their share of membership among workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) annual union membership report released today. Unions added about 310,000 members last year, raising the unionized share of the workforce to 12.1 percent from 12.0 percent in 2006.
The same article goes on to mention that the small 310,000 member increase might be a statistical anomaly but it is an anomaly that hasn’t happened in 25 years. Is this the start of a trend showing a growing dis-satisfaction with employers and big business and in turn the GOP whose platform is geared towards being pro-big business?
As much as labor unions might want you to think, they have nowhere near the political clout they once had, just ask John Edwards whom garnered just about every union endorsement out there and never won a thing. But, and this is still a big but, if our current do everything for business model despite what it means for the employee continues, will we be able to say the same thing in 4 or 8 years? If you think it’s hard to understand the broken English of some tech support reps now…
McCain and the rest of the Republican’s decision to slap labor in the face just for a few minutes of free publicity will likely not have any side effects for them this time around but I am sure if the labor union membership increase becomes a trend instead of an anomaly, 4 years from now might not be as rosy, or as forgiving for past transgressions by the GOP.