Labor Day – 123 Years Old

Happy Labor Day!

Labor Day was declared a federal holiday in 1894 at the time when some thirty states had already begun celebrating labor day in one form or another.  American unions achieved peak membership during the 1950s and have fallen off to the point where about 1 in 10 workers today are members of a union.

The largest group of union members is found in public sector employees including city employees, government workers, teachers and police and fire departments across the country.  Union membership in the private sector has dropped from its peak membership in the 1950s to today where approximately 1 in every 10 employees is in a union.  Union workers average 10-30% higher wages than non-union workers.  Pension obligations of those in government unions is a very large concern today.

Pension benefits of some former labor union members have been reduced, or have been threatened to be reduced since the membership today is shrunken to the point that current members’ contributions do not offset the need for more and more money to pay benefits.  That would suggest, to me at least having been employed in the pension and profit-sharing field for some years, that the managers of those labor union pension funds might have been a bit derelict in their duties, but I guess that is just me.  Pension benefits, more and more dependent upon a shrinking membership’s contributions is not a good place to be and is a terrible place to be for the current members making the contributions since their numbers are diminishing.  At this rate, the future certainly looks bleak for younger members of unions so far as their retirement years are concerned.

Unions today remain a big factor in our politics, national especially; probably that is the real power of organized labor today.  The Democrat Party is largely dependent upon ‘big labor’ for monetary and human contributions.  Rallies need people and unions’ members follow the directives of their leaders for the most part.  This can be likened to a ‘symbiotic’ relationship.  There definitely is a ‘mutually beneficial relationship’, the definition of a symbiotic relationship, between big labor and Democrat politics.

As an aside, it makes me wonder what might happen were there a solid Democrat majority in Congress coupled with a Democrat President if a magical bill was introduced to salvage the pension benefits of those in labor unions with failing plans.  A government ‘bail-out’ just might be thought about, or am I just fantasizing?

The declining membership in unions, from 20.1% of the employed population in 1983 to just 10.7% today, should be of significant concern to Democrats.  That once very reliable segment of the population is not nearly so reliable a Democrat stronghold today as it was then because its numbers have diminished, and apparently continue to diminish.

All in all, Labor Day 2017 is not such a great day for celebrating if you are a member of a national union dependent upon that union’s ‘trust fund’ for your retirement years.  It is almost enough to make a conservative out of you, isn’t it?

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