LABOR DAY MUSINGS - Earlier this month, all of America celebrated Labor Day. Originated by organized labor in the late 1800s, President Grover Cleveland made Labor Day an official U.S. holiday in 1894. Millions of Americans with no connection to a union treat Labor Day weekend as a rite of late summer each year. But what do those Americans think about organized labor, if they think about it at all?
Actually, according to a recent Pew Research Center report, a majority of Americans approve of unions in general, even though few of them belong to one. Fifty-five percent report they like unions, while 33 percent disapprove. Unfortunately, those numbers fly in the face of U.S. union membership, which continues to hover around 11 percent overall. The rates are much higher in the public sector - 27, 30 and 40 percent, respectively, for federal, state and local government workers - which only illustrates just how low the private sector numbers have dropped.
The Pew Center also reports a slight majority of Americans (51 percent) see the decline of unions in a negative sense, believing that the reduction of union membership overall isn't good for the middle class. And more good news: the unionization rate has increased slightly recently in the construction and healthcare industries, plus, while the U.S. unionization rate stays stable, the overall raw number of union members is increasing as the working population grows.
MAKING IT WORK IN NEVADA - There's an interesting analysis online about how the culinary unions in Nevada flourish, even though they've been in a "right-to-work" environment for 65 years. The author identifies three main components to their success:
- Shoe-leather organizing;
- Political engagement;
- Delivering for the rank-and-file.
The author concludes that as a result of Janus, "labor peace" will be more elusive than ever. But he also sees hope for unions that learn from the examples in Nevada. The author is a law professor at UNLV, not necessarily a "labor expert," but it's an interesting read and food for thought.
EYE TO THE FUTURE - At Unions-America, we follow technology trends. It's the best way to make sure our products are keeping up and offering you the best communications options we can. In that vein, believe it or not, the smart phone is now over 20 years old. The iPhone, which really super-charged the genre, debuted in mid-2007. Since then, there's been an array of improvements, app after app, personal assistants and such - but what's the next big thing?
Some industry experts are betting on imbedded sensors. These sensors would be placed in anything and everything, creating what's been termed an "Internet of things." How will it work? Point your phone at the refrigerator, for example, and see what's in it. Your car could send you a text when it needs a repair. Willing people could wear chips as well, so you could go to a large party, point your phone at anybody and know who they are and what they do. There are perhaps more important features to come as well; health sensors will be able to help monitor blood sugar, blood pressure, heart rate and more.
Those features aren't coming tomorrow - more like 8-10 years from now. Before that, you will likely see the advent of 3D-augmented headsets. These will beam a 3D feed directly into your eyes! That sounds a little scary, then again, it wasn't that long ago that eye doctors began shooting laser beams into eyes to fix them (Lasik surgery). No, we don't have a union-oriented 3D app available yet - but who knows, it may be coming!
CONTACT US - Our customer service center is always ready to assist you. We have professional support staff trained to get you answers and/or help you through an issue as quickly as possible. E-mail us at support@UnionActive.com or call (888) 248-5557, Ext. 3.
PRODUCT FEATURE - While there's no arguing that the Janus decision was a gut-punch to unions, some public employee unions are reporting what could be termed an unexpected silver lining. Think of it in terms of necessity as the mother of invention, but unions are reaching out to their members and explaining the advantages of union membership like never before.
But if you're a larger union, you can't do that if you don't know who your members are and/or where they are. We have the perfect way to help! The Unions-America Database Builder and Manager can take your basic membership roster and turn it into an effective, efficient outreach tool. And because our systems are built on responsive, mobile-friendly platforms, you don't have to be in front of your PC or laptop to access their features and power, you can do it in the field on your smart phone.
Check out the video on our website to learn more about our Database Builder and Manager and see how to better engage your members in these critical times.