Unions are organizing a “permanent campaign“ to influence government to do what the unions want.
In the meantime, as The Washington Times points out, union membership is collapsing. Here The Times tells readers that political skeptic Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, has been put on his heels and is beginning a permanent campaign to influence politicians.
An analysis by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found that unions have lost between 30 percent and 60 percent of their members. Membership in District Council 48 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, for example, declined from 9,000 members to fewer than 3,500. The trimmed membership rolls mean less money for the union bosses. Local 48’s budget once reflected a $7 million surplus, and now the union is $650,000 in the red. The national union was required to bail out the local, and it’s not even a stimulus.
Wisconsin does not yet offer workers in the private economy the freedom to reject forced union membership, but other states are moving to do so. A right-to-work law took effect last year in Indiana, and a similar law became effective in March in Michigan. That’s good news for employees who want to keep all of their paycheck, not so good for the unions and their officers.
Michigan, once one of the most unionized of all the states, saw union membership decline from 671,000 to 629,000, and in Indiana, union membership dipped from 302,000 to 246,000. This pattern will likely continue. The National Education Association, the largest teachers union and one of the most partisan of all unions, lost nearly 7 percent of its members between 2008 and 2009. To avoid taking a hit in the union treasury, the union bosses raised the dues of the remaining members. According to numbers compiled by the Education Intelligence Agency, 44 state NEA affiliates have reported losing thousands of members.
Union officials are looking to the government for relief. Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO who criticized his predecessor, John Sweeney, for spending too much time and money on politics, has changed his mind in the face of the new reality. He has organized what he calls a “permanent campaign” to influence government to do what the unions want.