Putting Numbers on the Shift to Public Sector Unions
Politico’s Ben Smith and Maggie Haberman published an informative, if late, article on the growing political liability government unions are becoming for their political patrons June 6th. But their otherwise find narrative could have benefited from some facts. Smith and Haberman reported:
[A]nother consultant to major unions pointed to a different, more structural shift: Public sector unions are increasingly the face of American labor, and they have prospered as private sector unions disappeared and workers’ wages stagnated.
“The face of labor today is now public employee unions whose wages and benefits largely outstrip those of average Americans,” said the consultant.
This is all true, but there is a very good reason that government unions are fast becoming the face of organized labor: for the first time in American history, 2009 was the first year that government employees constituted the majority of unionized employees in the United States. The Heritage Foundation’s James Sherk reports:
52 percent of all union members work for the federal or state and local governments, a sharp increase from the 49 percent in 2008. A majority of American union members are now employed by the government; three times more union members now work in the Post Office than in the auto industry.