I've rarely seen a more logically twisted argument.
Simple explanation for the decline in union membership is NOT that "workers are leaving unions" but that union jobs are being eliminated by businesses and government wherever and whenever possible. You don't have to be pro-union to recall and see the results both short- and long-term of the Reagan busting of the air traffic controllers union, which didn't result in an INCREASE in union memberships, did it? Multiply that by factories with union workers leaving for states and countries where they can operate sans unions. To suggest, even hint, that somehow workers are "leaving" unions as if they were choosing to do so because of some dissatisfaction with unions is about as cynical as it gets.
And then to jump back to teachers' unions to suggest that, ipso facto, they must be pushing for smaller class size to increase their membership is a remarkable leap of logic. You could have simply made that argument without all the crap about what's going on in the rest of the labor movement, but then you wouldn't be able to get the name "Hoffa" in quite so slickly.
So anyway, the theory you're pushing is that unions want to do anything possible to increase membership, necessary or not. But then there's the interesting case of the Dennis Bila, former head of both the teacher's union AND the mathematics department at Washtenaw Community College. Interestingly, the math department there used to be able to teach section upon section of "self-paced" math courses (mostly below the level of algebra II) in which multiple sections of students were "serviced" by one instructor who got to sit in the math lab awaiting students to take little multiple choice exams (handed out and scored by lab assistants who got paid about $10/hr) and then come to them for some help. The president of the college decided about four years ago that this was not serving students well and pushed, against union resistance, to eliminate most or all of these self-paced classes and require that every section be classroom and teacher based. So we have an administrator pushing for a more expensive kind of instruction that might well, in the long haul, increase union membership, not to mention faculty membership in the math department, and a department and union head opposing the move.
It's a fascinating world, if you don't limit yourself to what Ed David tells us. Note that I do not attempt to interpret anyone's motives above. And I actually don't know how it all worked out. I left the campus when this was all threatening to come to an interesting head. I do know that Bila is retired and the same fellow is still president.
On Jul 6, 2007, at 9:15 PM, Edmond David wrote:
> Victor Posted: Jul 6, 2007 10:28 AM >> Seeing a nefarious union conspiracy behind every policy >> decision ought to land one on a therapy couch at least >> a couple of times a week. Medication may also be >> advisable. > >> From the Bureau of Labor Statistics > http://www.bls.gov/news.release/union2.nr0.htm > > Technical information: (202) 691-6378 USDL 07-0113 > http://www.bls.gov/cps/ > For release: 10:00 A.M. EST Thursday, January 25, 2007 > > UNION MEMBERS IN 2006 > > In 2006, 12.0 percent of employed wage and salary workers were > union members, down from 12.5 percent a year earlier, the U.S. > Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. > The number of persons belonging to a union fell by 326,000 in 2006 > to 15.4 million. The union membership rate has steadily declined > from 20.1 percent in 1983, the first year for which comparable > union data are available. > > ==> NB: these numbers are for all wage and salary > ==> workers, including public sector workers. In the > ==> private sector, the numbers for the unions are even > ==> grimmer ( < 10%, I think). > > http://www.mackinac.org/article.aspx?ID=2324 > Given the rate at which workers have been leaving unions, the labor > movement will have to add nearly 700,000 members per year just to > maintain its current levels of employee representation. > ---------------- > > Victor, do you think the unions don't know this? Do you imagine > this fact does not factor into their every calculation? Do you > think this little vignette is not on their minds every waking hour > of every day? > > They think of almost nothing else. > > http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A11958-2005Mar6.html >> "These are the darkest days that I have ever seen for >> American workers across the United States," said >> McEntee, one of Sweeney's strongest allies. >> ... >> Hoffa, Stern and Wilhelm countered that labor must >> build up its membership through organizing drives >> before it can effectively flex its political muscle. > > And so on and so forth. You can google "labor movement > declining membership" to see all you need on the subject. > > In other words, maybe it has not occurred to you, but there is > not a snowball's chance in Hell that the AFT and NEA are > insensitive to or unaware of what smaller class size will mean to > their membership. > > Haim > Je me souviens > >