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Why has the labor movement so declined is strength in the US - Essay Example

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Since 1979, labor movement in the US had been in perpetual decline. Except in 2007 where a marked increase in union membership was registered, the density of labor unionism and its corresponding movement has been on a precipitous decline since then (Bureau of Labor Statistic)…
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Why has the labor movement so declined is strength in the US

Download file to see previous pages... The decline was particularly steep in 2008 which led many to hypothesize that perhaps the decline in the labor movement was due to the financial crisis that begun in 2008. Others interpret the decline as an interplay of many factors which includes the market integration wrought by globalization and the shift of industry from the traditional manufacturing to service and the changing employee – employer relationships. The determination of the cause of the decline of the labor movement is important because this will lead us in understanding whether organized labor is still relevant today. Considering the number of jobs that were lost and the economic displacements that were prevalent during the financial crisis that still continues today, one cannot help but wonder what the labor movement did to prevent or at least mitigate such loss (New York Times). It is important to ask because the seemingly relentless loss of jobs made organized labor appear helpless in keeping one’s job and thus triggered its decline in strength and numbers in the US because it is perceived to be ineffective. Having these phenomena, one cannot help to connect the union’s seemingly ineffectual role during the crisis that caused its decline because in 2007, union membership registered a significant increase. However, this increase was short lived because in 2008, the precipitous decline of union membership begun. This observation is valid because if unions were perceived ineffectual during the crisis, this will undermine their credibility to bargain, protect and advance worker’s interest and in a way, can be taken as losing their relevance that eventually led to the continued decline of labor movement in the US (Zaid). The argument that the union’s seemingly inefficacy in abating job loss during the financial crisis may be correct to some extent but to solely and conclusively attribute the decline of labor movement to the 2008 financial crisis is rather oversimplification. True it did contribute to the decline of union density because jobs became fewer after the crisis in the first place and it follows that the number of organized labor will also shrink. But the financial crisis was only a contributing factor because with or without the financial crisis, the decline in labor movement will still continue. The root of the problem of labor decline cannot be traced solely to the financial crisis but rather was caused by the interplay of structure issues that undermined the very foundation of unionization and organized labor. With the advent of globalization, the landscape of labor market changed dramatically. Greater market integration intensified the competition and this warranted a new degree of efficiency which resulted in various and new work arrangements. First, there was already the phenomenon of flight capital with many of our industries, plants and warehouses relocating in China and elsewhere in the world to take advantage of their cheap labor cost (____). The jobs that were left in the US were still subjected to intensified competition and thus came the new natures of employment which are transitory and casual in nature. Job security became a thing of the past where employability became the norm in cognizance of the reality that one could lose his or her job any moment. Industry also shifted from the traditional unionized manufacturing to service because manufacturing are increasingly outsourced abroad in an effort to save on cost (Aljazeera). This also resulted in the decline of the strength of labor movement because the service sector is not known to be heavily organized. The structural shift of the economy and the phenomena of globalization may be criticized as ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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