Why public sector unions are a really good idea

Sep 2018
cleveland ohio
Unions are much stronger in Nordic countries than in the U.S. They’re also very different. .. Look at Northern Europe lots of state industry (Norway has more state run industry than china ) a huge public sector Nordic Socialism Is Realer Than You Think – MattBruenig | Politics and they top the list of every index of good living
Unions are on the decline in the U.S., and have been for a long time. Last year, only 6.5 percent of private-sector workers in the U.S. belonged to one. (Among public-sector workers the unionization rate was 34.4 percent and has held relatively steady over time, but the public sector’s share of the workforce has been shrinking since the 1970s.)

You probably already knew that, more or less. But low and declining union membership is not just an American thing (yes, this chart looks a little squished, but I thought I should have the same scale on all of them to make them easier to compare):

Union Members Are a Shrinking Minority
Percentage of workers who belong to unions
Bloomberg - Are you a robot?
So union membership is even lower in France than in the U.S.! As I learned from the National Review’s Reihan Salam a few years ago when I first discovered this amazing fact, though, that’s kind of misleading. Almost every worker in France is covered by collective bargaining agreements between the country’s unions and employers.

nterestingly, some of the biggest American fans of this approach in recent years have come from the political center-right. The Atlantic’s Jonathan Rauch cited the Ghent system approvingly in making “The Conservative Case for Unions” last year; the Manhattan Institute’s Oren Cass did the same in a City Journal article on “More Perfect Unions”; and in their 2008 book, “Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream,” the aforementioned Reihan Salam and New York Times columnist Ross Douthat advocated “new model unions” that would focus more on providing services and training to members than negotiating with their employers.

Some traditional unions in the U.S. are already responsible for providing pensions, which hasn’t been going very well for them lately. The “new model” Freelancers Union, founded in 1995, offers health coverage and other forms of insurance to independent workers, as well as political advocacy. This is an awfully long way from the Nordic system in which unions play a central role not only in providing unemployment insurance but in determining how much money everybody makes. But on Labor Day one can always dream, I guess.