VIDEO: Why California labor unions are growing

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unions death exaggerated

Please watch the whole video, especially the part at about 11:43.

The bad news: Union membership is on the decline. In fact, a record low 11.3 percent of all U.S. workers were union members, down from 11.8 percent in 2011, the government said.

The good news: California is seeing union gains. Why? Latino workers.

Latino immigrants are more willing to join unions in a tough economic environment, according to organizers.

The L.A. Times is reporting that California added more than 100,000 union member last year, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and 18.4% of the state’s workers are represented by a union.

Corporations maximize profits at the expense of the people who do all the work, so low-wage workers are interested in organizing in order to give themselves opportunity, job security, and to become a part of the now-shrinking middle class.

As David Johnson (from the video), organizing director of the California Nurses Assn., said, "There has to be a broader vision set forth so that people see unions and the labor movement as an answer to the corporate domination and the Wall Street greed that has devastated our country."

Labor's more optimistic proponents say that California could serve as a blueprint for unions across the country as they seek to stem membership declines. [...]

Workers fed up with years of stagnant wages may be motivated to join a union for financial reasons. Last year, union members made $943 a week, on average, while non-union members made $742, according to the BLS. [...]

Organizers say they were successful because they harnessed frustration with growing nationwide inequality to engage members during the recession. [...]

But demographic shifts can be only positive for unions in the next few years, said Harley Shaiken, a labor professor at UC Berkeley. Labor has built new alliances and is going into a new, proactive phase, he said.

"Reports of labor's death have been greatly exaggerated," he said.

unions gave us

Remember who created our weekends, overtime, safe work places, unemployment benefits, public roads, and employer-based health care.

And remember why Republicans want to do away with them: They are one of the few lucrative sources of Democratic fundraising.

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