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What do you think of when you hear the phrase labor unions Most people associate a negative connotation with labor unions They think that labor unions are the only cause of strikes and work stoppages Most think that people in unions are greedy and will do anything to get more money Others swear by their unions saying that their employers would take advantage of them if they didnt organize their unions However as we prepare to enter the new millennium labor unions are decreasing in size Lets look at some of reasons First the numbers are unmistakable At the end of 1997 when the most recent count was made only 141 of workers belonged to unions the lowest percentage since 1936 Gross 23 This is a dramatic decrease from when unions were at their height at the end of World War II when 353 of Americans were in unions Galenson 13 One cause of this fall of union membership is the decline of manufacturing in America and the transfer of much manufacturing work over seas Gross 24 Because of advances in technology and labor saving innovations fewer people are required to make steel and assembler automobiles As a result only 161 of US workers now work in factories down from 228 twenty years ago Aronwitz 2 There has also been a decrease in size of the large corporations which in the past usually signed industry-wide contracts to produce a particular item The latest figures show that the 800 largest firms employed 17 of the total workforce down from 257 twenty years ago Aronwitz 3 Many of these companies have their work done abroad Nike does not make a single shoe in the United States and many insurance companies are having paperwork processed over seas Hacker 45 At home corporate jobs are frequently assigned to temporary workers who are often classified as independent contractors and are not very likely to
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