Union membership declines, but Texas could be a new blue state

Rebecca Smith is a contributor to The Brenner Brief and an expert on union issues. Twitter: @unionhypocrisy

Rebecca Smith is a contributor to The Brenner Brief and an expert on union issues. Twitter: @unionhypocrisy

All across the conservative landscape we hear the sound of corks popping and toasts being made as every conservative with an audience jubilantly announced that union membership had reached its lowest point in 76 years.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) released the numbers that reflected a significant hit to organized labor with union membership shrinking from 11.8 percent in 2011 to 11.3 percent in 2012. That is equivalent to a loss of approximately 400,000 members. The most dramatic declines were seen in states that had passed right to work laws, proving that when workers are given a choice some will chose not to belong to a union. The largest drops occurred in Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio.  Can anyone guess what these states have in common?

Other reasons for the large drop in union membership can be attributed to the lack of union jobs. It is not a business friendly environment and even Chrysler Jeep is opting out of the American Labor force and choosing to go overseas where the climate is friendlier to manufacturers. The AFL-CIO may wish to point the finger at the GOP for the anti-union legislation as the reason for the decline, but they should remember when they do that there are three fingers pointing back at themselves and the Democratic administration they endorsed.

Large projects that could have helped union members in the construction industry, like the Keystone Pipeline, were pushed to the back burner as Obama chose environmentalists over the needs of the out of work trade union workers. Construction has seen between 14 and 16 percent unemployment. In New York and Illinois, unions also suffered big losses as the Democratic leaders of those states sought and received concessions in public workers’ contracts in order to stave off the collapse of the public sector pensions.

However, before we continue the celebration marking the union’s demise, perhaps we should take a minute to look at some startling statistics. These are numbers which reflect that even though there was an overall decline in union membership, some states actually saw union membership increase. In addition, these were marked gains in union membership in Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.

In Texas, membership went from 5.2 to 5.7 percent. Smaller gains were made in North Carolina and Nevada.

However, every conservative should be watching Texas, because it is Texas where the Democratic Party is launching the Promesa Project.  Moreover, the success of this project would increase dramatically with a healthy army of foot soldiers provided by the union. This is an aggressive Latino outreach project to encourage Latino voters to vote Democrat.

promesa project

They developed this plan based on the assumption that younger Latinos were the key voting bloc who needed to be courted and that it would require a major online presence due to the internet becoming the chief basis of political influence with young people.

The plan is to use the internet and grassroots networks to ask the young Latinos to promise or “Promesa” to vote Democratic and be Democratic go-betweens with family and friends. Brilliant – what are conservatives doing? The Democrats also plan on integrating all the data they gather thru their outreach and using that database to get out the vote in 2014. I wonder what President Obama would do if the Democrats gained control of the house and retained control of the Senate in 2014. It could make the two years preceding 2016 interesting.

Did I mention that union membership among Latinos had also increased in 2012? I hope conservatives have a plan.

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Comments

  1. Thank you for writing about this issue because it is a HUGE problem that we need to address… LIKE NOW! My wife has been working to try and undo the ame efforts put in place in FL years ago. Obama has now won FL both times in large part because of his Latino support. If Texas goes competitive we don’t have a prayer. Consider the votes we are already missing in other swing states. This needs to be a grassroots effort because our party is clueless on how to reach out to minorities and young voters. They have done nothing so far since we got thumped. Good Job.

  2. Michael Ruffing says:

    Holy smokes, what an important development. Here is an opportunity for Rubio to start his catch-up work that Richard mentioned, hmmm? Thanks.

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