At least four types of manufacturing leaders are mulling over the new labor contracts which just wrapped up between the Detroit Three automakers and the United Auto Workers. One issue they’re looking at closely is the likely cause-and-effect between the union’s huge financial gains in the new accords and the potential sacrifices it is making in job security and future membership levels.
Trade unions are declining, according to The Economist, with U.S. ranks falling to 14.5 million in 2013 from a peak of 20 million in 1979, due to “structural changes in advanced economies such as a decline in unskilled factory workers and modern models of work organization in today’s factories.
According to recently released 2012 Department of Labor data the rate of unionization — the percentage of American workers belonging to unions — declined faster under President Obama’s first term than during two terms of President George W. Bush. Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor and senior fellow at The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, argues that the President’s own anti-business policies are largely to blame. This is not as counterintuitive as it sounds.
In 2012, labor unions and associated organizers under the “Occupy” umbrella have been especially active in challenging executives’ pay, according to a recent report by James R. Copland, director of the Manhattan Institute’s Center for Legal Policy. The Institute’s report is featured in ProxyMonitor.org, a publicly available resource containing searchable and sortable information on public company shareholder proposals.