I was on my lunch hour, driving to Mighty Taco, and I noticed people walking a picket line out in front of a Verizon store. There’s a sight you just don’t see much these days. As I drove back to work, I thought to myself, hmm, this might make a good blog entry. A quick google search revealed what I think most of us already knew, that union membership in waning.
For those not inclined to click, here is the key information:
The union membership rate–the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions–was 11.1 percent in 2015, unchanged from 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions, at 14.8 million in 2015, was little different from 2014. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent, and there were 17.7 million union workers.
I don’t have an opinion on whether or not the Verizon workers deserve a raise. They probably do but the first thing that came to my mind was what incredibly shitty customer service Verizon always had when I was a customer of theirs. I dropped them years ago. Just couldn’t take their incompetence any more. My cell bill was wrong, no joke, every single month. They might get more sympathy from the general public if that were not the case.
What also came to mind is how lucky these people are to work for a union that supports them. As someone who has always worked for small, family owned companies, I can say that I’ve often dreamed of being in a union over the years, and having the organized power to go on strike.
This is a fantastic union song from Billy Bragg & Wilco. If you don’t own Mermaid Avenue, you’re missing out. Go buy it. Right now.