Earlier this month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics published its annual report on union membership in the United States. The report was discouraging, even if somewhat expected. Union membership is down to just 10.3%, offsetting the small increase we saw in 2020 and returning rates to where they were in 2019. The slow decline of union membership that we’ve seen over the last several decades continues.
Public opinion however, tells a different story. Right now about 70% of Americans approve of labor unions, the highest rating since 1965. Half of all nonunion workers say they would join a union if they could. The decline in labor power not because workers don’t want a union. It is because of how hard capital has fought their ability to have one.
This is the challenge that we’re facing. We have been beaten back by a long and powerful campaign of anti-union actions, and we need to turn the tide in our favor. We need to strengthen our existing unions, and organize the unorganzied so that we can build real working class power. It’s going to be long and hard work but alway remember, we have the people on our side.
This is the time to do it. In the last few weeks, 116 workers at REI in New York City have filed to unionize with RWDSU and UFCW. The workers, with some support from EWOC, have been organizing for safer working conditions since the early days of the pandemic. Although they have asked for the company to voluntarily recognize their union, management has already started a union-busting campaign.
And today is the first day of bargaining at Elmwood and Genesee Starbucks stores in Buffalo! Standing in solidarity on this historic day, 16 stores have filed for election all across the country in one day. Solidarity with Starbucks Workers United as the flame continues to grow.
Every worker everywhere deserves a union, and EWOC is here to offer support for exactly that. Reach out to us to be connected to an organizer and get support to win better working conditions for you and your coworkers
Image: REI SoHo workers went live on Twitter last week – give them a follow @REIUnionSoho