Labor’s clout is in steep decline in the Middle West. In a move that was unimaginable just ten years ago, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed a pair of “right-to-work” bills into law, dealing a serious blow to unions in one of the states that gave birth to the modern labor movement in America. The Wall Street Journal:
Gov. Snyder’s willingness to sign the legislation—a reversal of his previous position that right to work was a divisive issue that he would prefer to avoid—highlights the diminution of union clout both in Michigan and nationally.
The UAW once had more than one million members in the U.S., and as recently as 2004 had 654,000 active members. Now, after years of cuts by Detroit’s big auto makers and their parts makers, the UAW’s national membership is down to roughly 380,000 members, according to Labor Department filings. In Michigan, about 17.5% of workers were union members in 2011, according to Labor Department figures.