The results are in.
In 1999, the Construction Labor Review wrote “Unionized employment will keep climbing during the next decade but will be just barely equal to the rate of growth in non-union sector,” (as quoted here). The graph below, from today’s Wall St. Journal, shows that that is exactly what has happened since then.
What the graph shows is continuing decline during the downturns, barely holding its own during the upturns. In other words exactly what the Construction Labor Research Council predicted. In case there ever was any doubt, this once again is decisive proof that the strategy and goals of the union leadership is not working.
This means that it’s not enough to just come out to the next rally or picket line to “defend labor” without at the same time also organizing internally to fight to change the policies that the union hierarchy has imposed on the unions. Nor is it enough to just call for more “democracy.” We have to organize to change the policies. This includes opposing the “team concept” and all its expressions and fighting for better contracts and real contract enforcement. It also means breaking with the Democrats (one and all) and joining with the movement for social justice – but really joining, not just supporting one or two nice safe marches and rallies here and there – and building a mass movement of workers (including the unemployed and those in prison and their families) that will include running its own candidates for office, candidates who are outside of and opposed to the two big business parties.
That would be the first step towards building a mass party of US working class people, one that would bring together all the most serious and determined layers to coordinate the movement, press it forward, including (but not only) running its own candidates for office.