WDET: Marick Masters on factors contributing to declining union membership

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Marick Masters, a management professor at Wayne State University and labor expert, joins Detroit Today to discuss unions in America. He said corporations and labor both played a role in the decline of union membership, but the trade policies driving the U.S. economy are the primary culprit. While union membership has continued to decline in recent years, last month saw an increase in momentum for labor movements in Michigan. Both state congressional staffers and nursing home workers continued formal efforts toward unionization, continuing a spike in union worker petition filings nationally this year. “I would say the principal blame lies in the structure of the U.S. economy, which is dominated by the wealthy and those who have supported free trade policies, which has led to the exodus and off-shoring of jobs,” said Masters. “Treaties like NAFTA and our trade relations with China have cost lots of manufacturing jobs, which have resulted in the decline of unionized workers.” “I’d say that if we’re looking to place blame on the unions, it wouldn’t be so much that they did a poor job representing members. In fact, the opposite is probably the case,” he said. “They probably did too good a job in trying to raise wages and raise benefits to where the companies could not remain competitive with the onslaught of international competition with unfair trade rules.”

Full interview on WDET

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