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decline of labor
Trouble for Unions in the Silver State

Nevada has been a centerpiece of union revitalization efforts over the past decade, with hospitality industry of Las Vegas a major focus. But the latest data are grim for organized labor in the Silver State. The Las Vegas Sun reports:

Union membership in Nevada dropped last year to its lowest level since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began collecting data in 1989, according to statistics released last week by the federal government.

Members of unions accounted for 12.1 percent of wage and salary workers in the Silver State in 2016, a slice that equates to 146,000 workers. That represented a sharp drop from 14.3 percent in 2015 and also contrasted with nearly nearly six years of the figure holding steady at just above 14 percent.

Organized labor in Nevada has been remarkable for being able to thrive despite the fact that a right-to-work law (which makes it more difficult to compel members of a collective bargaining unit to pay dues) has been on the books since the 1950s. But the latest data suggest that the right-to-work system may now be facilitating the decline: According to a University of Nevada professor quoted in the article, public sector employees are increasingly opting out of union membership.

The tick downward in Nevada union membership isn’t just significant for the future of organized labor. It could also have major political implications. For example, Nevada was one of the few swing states where Hillary Clinton out-performed her polling average; some commentators have attributed this in part to the political muscle of the state’s union network. Further declines in Nevada organized labor will not help the Democrats’ electoral prospects there in the future.

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  • ——————————

    “Further declines in Nevada organized labor will not help the Democrats’ electoral prospects there in the future.”

    Let’s hope so.
    But there’s still a lot of hippies and freaks in the LV area to vote Democrat….

  • PCB

    If the newly elected, former Labor Secretary, Democratic Chairman is any tea-leaf prediction as to where the Party is hopeful it might find its feet again after being toppled in the 2016 election, perhaps this latest Nevada union-membership dip is just another sign that the DNC is out of touch.

    • Proverbs1618

      I think the problem with DNC and Democrats in general is not that they are out of touch. It’s that they are too in touch with things nobody except them gives a %$@#% about (best case) or the majority of people oppose (worst case).

  • Pete

    Good news. The less union membership, the less money for the Dims — the party of hate, of open borders, of soft on crime, of racial quotas and other loathsome positions

  • FriendlyGoat

    If workers want to fix politics, their money would be better spent re-converting the church people who have voted against the interests of workers consistently since 2010. Instead of the Union or Dem agenda, they need a campaign directed at evangelical voters who produced Trump and flipped several statehouses on issues such as wedding cakes which nearly no one is in business to bake. Could be a positive campaign or a negative one. The first step is understanding WHO beat them and how it happened.

    • Anthony
      • FriendlyGoat

        Thanks. Their take:

        “In total, Donald Trump managed to defeat Hillary Clinton in the Electoral College count because of FBI intervention, voter suppression, low voter turnout and possible Russian interference, in combination with sexism, racism and the fact that too many Democratic-leaning voters switched to third parties.”

        My take:

        Evangelicals were the DEFINING participants who flipped the election, partly by allowing themselves to be gullible to all of above, and partly on their subconscious fight against gay marriage and against Obama, the Muslim (a widely believed falsehood) and various other themes unique to church circles

        Meanwhile, the results of this may be the complete giveaway of the tax code as it pertains to the wealthiest class of America. Here is a very telling piece of where they really want to go. http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/3/3/14772242/republicans-tax-cuts-reform-kevin-brady-corporate-border-adjustment

        As best I can summarize this in my mind as an old accountant (out of it now for more than 20 years)—–it looks like the plan, seriously, is to have W-2 employees paying the highest rates of income tax and everyone who owns a business or who engages in trading paying the lowest. The ramifications of this go far, far, far beyond “not good”.

        • Eurydice

          But, did anyone expect evangelicals to vote any other way? It’s not like the Democrats we’re counting on their votes and the evangelicals suddenly flipped.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Yes, I, as a real evangelical (freed from the mind-numbing influence of Incorporated Church) expected other evangelicals to NOT embrace falsehoods about health insurance, NOT embrace falsehoods about voter rights, NOT embrace falsehoods about “small government” and UNSPECIFIED deregulation of business practices, NOT embrace falsehoods about collective bargaining, NOT embrace falsehoods about tax cuts and jobs, NOT embrace falsehoods about the gun culture, NOT embrace falsehoods about transgenders and bathrooms, NOT embrace lies about both Obama and Hillary Clinton, NOT be stupid about Donald Trump and his tax returns or his self-described privilege and entitlement by wealth and fame to grab ’em by the p____.

            I reasonably expect evangelicals to be both kind and smart. At present, the 81% of them who voted for Donald Trump have gone mean-spirited and stupid. The stupid part is that they have voted to hurt most of their own membership AND everyone else who may happen to not be already wealthy. The mean-spirited part is that they did it for a collection of the worst reasons imaginable. This is THE political story.

          • Eurydice

            Well, I don’t know much about evangelicals, real or otherwise – I’m one of those Christians who aren’t interesting enough to be courted or even noticed. But it seems to me that all sides have become mean-spirited and stupid. I, as a lapsed Democrat, am disappointed with the stupidity and intolerance exhibited by the Democratic party which paints itself as the good guys, but behaves only to protect its own interests.

          • FriendlyGoat

            The main purpose of Democrats in office is to keep Republicans from doing the “winner take all” number on the population which they are now most obviously in the process of doing. Working people and poor people are now to lose EVERY issue in the administration, the legislation and the courts. Wealth and power are moving straight up and the fallout will last for at least years, probably decades, maybe forever. We are a only few weeks into a catastrophic widening of the wealth gap which will further marginalize those not already wealthy. By the end of 2017, the meaning of all this will be coming more clearly into focus.
            Meanwhile, the evangelical church, mouthing around and mouthing around and mouthing around, caused it all. Pardon me for being mad at them, but they picked Trump/Bannon over Jesus and everyone in the lower half is going to pay for it big league.

          • Eurydice

            I’m sorry, but that’s plain nonsense. The Democrats had no problem with “winner take all” back when they were the winners. I remember when Obama’s rejoinder to Republican protests was “I won.” And he was right – that’s how it works. But if the Democrats really believe as you do, that their purpose is to be “not-Republicans”, then they are worse than useless. Because they are dead weight and taking up space that could be better used by other “not-Republicans” who are actually willing to do some work for the people.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I was hoping you would “get” this and not just fight it. Here’s the difference. Obama had a conservative Supreme Court. Obama had wall-to-wall obstruction in his last six years and significant obstruction in his first two. You are asking me to be naïve and pretend that this present alignment is not different from Obama’s situation. I can’t. By Christmas this year, we will all know why not. The steam roller is only on idle at this moment, but it is gassed up and ready to go. It is reasonable to say that one of the only emergency brakes for people in the entire administration is Ivanka Kushner—-and that is a precarious situation to contemplate.

          • Eurydice

            I’m not fighting you, but I’ll tell you what I’m fighting. I live in a state that’s been controlled by Democrats for the last 80+ years. If Republicans exist, they certainly won’t reveal themselves. Pretty much 100% of the people I know are university-educated progressives. Not one of them can form a single coherent argument for a positive piece of legislation, or a single argument for why one should vote for their favored candidate, except “if you don’t vote for him/her, the Republicans will win.” I have been hearing this for my entire adult voting life and it’s just not good enough. Don’t get me wrong – I think it was inexcusable for the Republicans to be the party of no under Obama, but I won’t give the Democrats a pass on this either. Politics only works with compromise, and both parties have to accept it.

          • FriendlyGoat

            At this moment we are hearing that Republicans may not be able to even compromise with each other between far right and far, far, far right—-let alone with Democrats. I am predicting that your university-educated friends will get loads of confirmation THIS YEAR on what it means when Republicans win it all.

        • Anthony

          This (social/political climate) does lead one to be most cynical. But giving way to cynicism makes policies considered and climate you alluded to more stealthily probable. The politics and blame-worthy cannot be allowed to hide behind some faux populism (who was it that said “do you have no “shame” Senator). Exposure, exposure, organization, organization, elected office campaigning, elected office campaigning (at all levels) are all tactics to countervail what you decipher. Equally, identifying rank hypocrisy (law and order for thee but not for me) as well as national interest ( beyond partisan motives) requires active engagement – this (America) yet remains a Democracy (if only conditionally) and as such informed political content is relevant to our structural health!

          And, you’re welcome.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Those are all good—–longer term. In the short term, it seems to me we can only rely on the internal dysfunction of Republicanism itself. There are going to be changes to health insurance and taxation before there are any more elections. What are those changes and who can mitigate them from “winner take all” this year?

          • Anthony

            Agreed. But a long-game view always entails short game adjustments. Mitigation, FG, will only come via electoral pressure (U.S. Senators/individual congressmen) as that’s currently where your concern develops – that and raising public awareness of impacts to their lives, both short and long term (good luck with that).

    • Eurydice

      What do you mean by “reconverting”? And reconverting to what? What does a worker’s choice to opt out of a union have to do with religion…or wedding cakes?

      • FriendlyGoat

        A short answer could be this. If you think Elizabeth Warren should be talked down as “Pocahontas” and that Ralph Reed, Tony Perkins, Jerry Falwell, Jr. and Phil Robertson are somehow gonna help you in real life——then——-you need a re-conversion from your current mental/spiritual state. There are a LOT of people in that condition. They flipped the election, astonished the educated community, astonished the media and astonished the world. It is a gigantic mess which only rectifies when church people understand what happened TO them and BY their hands.

        • Eurydice

          I can say the same thing of the other side – if you think that calling people of faith crazy, delusional throwbacks will be at all helpful and convincing then there needs to be some kind of conversion there, too. It’s interesting to me that you see the evangelicals as flipping the election. From my non-religious part of the country it seems that those who decided not to vote (but were expected to) were the ones who flipped things.

          • FriendlyGoat

            The white evangelicals are said to be 26% of all voters and they went 81% Trump, 16% Clinton—-compared to Catholics who went 52% Trump, 45% Clinton. In Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania where about 12,500,000 votes were cast, we can assume that evangelicals supplied about 2,632,500 Trump votes. If they had gone 52% Trump, like the Catholics, they would have supplied 1,690,000 Trump votes and Mrs. Clinton, who lost those three states by less than 100,000 combined, would be president. This is my own analysis, not someone else’s repeated talking point, and my reason for insisting that the evangelicals flipped the election.

            Please note that evangelicals (the self-described born again) are not the only “people of faith”. Catholics are also “people of faith” and they did not go off the deep end to the tune of 81/16. I believe we do not understand our politics until we focus on what the heck happened inside the self-described “born again” community. Professional journalists have to dance around lightly on this religion in politics. But I don’t. It is THE story of how we got all of the coming consequences of a national Republican alignment.

          • Eurydice

            This reminds me of “If we had ham, we could have ham and eggs…if we had eggs.” If Clinton had gotten as many black votes as Obama…if Clinton had gotten more white women to vote for her…

          • FriendlyGoat

            I’m just telling you what happened. The election was close in a few states. One block flipped the result. It happens to contain, by the way, a whole bunch of those white women who we are blaming as a group when we SHOULD be specifically blaming white church women in that unbelievable 81%.

          • Eurydice

            I know what happened; I was here for it just as you were. And if you want to blame evangelicals for what you see as a disaster, then fine. But my original point is not changed. A significant number of evangelicals were never going to vote for Hillary Clinton. To have expected that would have been unrealistic and I’m sure her campaign knew this and accounted for it in their calculations. So, knowing this, they looked for votes elsewhere – too bad they didn’t find enough of them.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Why do I have this feeling that you are glad about the change and enjoying the “blame Hillary” bandwagon? To me, it’s not a hoot that people have been lied to and screwed over.

          • Eurydice

            Only you can explain why you get that feeling. I’m not specifically blaming Hillary, but I am blaming the Democratic party for not taking their opposition seriously and for not presenting a coherent platform. And I’m certainly blaming them for the major losses all the way down the ballot. I’m not at all happy that Trump is president, but I am glad that the Democratic establishment got a swift kick in the pants. They’ve been in a state of extreme ossification for a long time

          • FriendlyGoat

            And the Dems will remain ossified until they re-convert the church from its present mental condition. There has to be more to religion than gay-bashing and the willing embrace of economic falsehood (such as the easy-peasy “replacement” for PPACA which does not exist and cannot exist without un-insuring poor people). The church got itself willingly bullsh*tted on nearly every issue of consequence and we will be an increasingly crappy society until that is corrected. This was my original point. The Dems need to either talk sense into the church or shame it out of business. But there is not some “other” group to work on.

  • Kevin

    Maybe, still the Democrats did well there last November due largely to their strength with unions (along with Hispanics) in Clark County.

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