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Labor Day 2020: State of the U.S. Labor Unions


2020 has been a year unlike any other in recent memory. For labor unions, it’s been a mixed bag. Public approval of unions is high and unions seem to be making at least some inroads at tech companies and other sectors where they historically have not had success. Many predict the pandemic also could give rise to an increase in union organizing and hamper employers’ ability to remain union free. But it’s not all rosy.

Union numbers overall remain down. Only 6.2 percent of private sector workers now belong to unions. In 1983 there were 17.7 million union workers – public and private – but today only 14.6 million American workers are unionized. The ongoing decline since the 1970s does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

Then there are ongoing issues of corruption. A second former UAW president recently was indicted in an ongoing scandal. The UAW is hardly the only union seeing indictments for improper expenditures of dues money, though, as countless others have seen arrests and convictions.   

The National Labor Relations Board continues to roll back standards and procedures that generally favored unions as well.

In short, we’re looking at a very varied labor relations landscape heading into the holiday weekend. Happy Labor Day!


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Labor Unions
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