Dorian Warren in Salon:
The fate of the labor movement is the fate of American democracy. Without a strong countervailing force like organized labor, corporations and wealthy elites advancing their own interests are able to exert undue influence over the political system, as we’ve seen in every major policy debate of recent years.
Yet the American labor movement is in crisis and is the weakest it’s been in 100 years. That truism has been a progressive mantra since the Clinton administration. However, union density has continued to decline from roughly 16 percent in 1995 to 11.8 percent of all workers and just 6.9 percent of workers in the private sector. Unionized workers in the public sector now make up the majority of the labor movement for the first time in history, which is precisely why — a la Wisconsin and 14 other states — they have been targeted by the right for all out destruction.
The urgency is striking. Instead of being fundamentally discredited, the oligarchs and plutocrats who crashed our economy are raking in record profits and acting even more aggressively to bury the American labor movement once and for all. Over the last year, several labor leaders have told me that they believe unions have only about five more years left if they don’t figure out some kind of breakthrough strategy.
The complete collapse of unions would have devastating consequences.