by John Reimann
I had high hopes when I saw the headline: “A Wish for Labor Day: Visionary Union Leaders.” Well, considering the source – a building contractor named Richard Pieper writing in the Wall St. Journal – not really. But one can always dream, right?
Pieper points out that the unions in the US have steadily lost ground for years. “Thirty-four years ago there were 21 million public and private union members, or roughly 24% of the workforce. Today, membership is about 14.4 million, or 11.3% of the workforce.” He cites AFL-CIO president Rich Trumka approvingly, when Trumka says that the present approach of the unions is “failing”. But what does Pieper mean by that?
For starters, he castigates SEIU president Mary Kay Henry for calling for the unions to “help workers boost wages.” At least Henry calls for it in words. Instead, what Peiper says, is this: “Visionary leaders have an opportunity to help workers adapt successfully. For starters, they could help expand the economy by helping employers become more competitive.”
What does this mean?
Read more: 2 Labor Day 2013