Here’s an interesting article that frames the growth in manufacturing activity in the context of union jobs.
Last July was a good month for factory workers in Anderson, Ind., where a Honda parts supplier announced plans to build a new plant and create up to 325 jobs. But it was a grim month in the Cleveland suburbs, where an industrial plastics firm told the state of Ohio it was closing a plant and laying off 150 people.
Nearly all of the Ohio workers belonged to a labor union. Workers at the Indiana plant don’t. Their fates fit a post-recession pattern: American factories are hiring again, but they’re not hiring union members.
U.S. manufacturers have added a half-million new workers since the end of 2009, making the sector one of the few bright spots in an otherwise weak recovery. And yet there were 4 percent fewer union factory workers in 2012 than there were in 2010, according to federal survey data. On balance, all of the job gains in manufacturing have been non-union.
The trend underscores a central conundrum in the “manufacturing renaissance” that President Obama loves to tout as an economic accomplishment: The new manufacturing jobs are different from the ones that delivered millions of American workers a ticket to the middle class over the past half-century.
There’s definitely a trend to avoid union shops on the part of manufacturers. Frankly, many unions overstepped their mission with ridiculous work rules, and many resources were used to protect the few workers who abused the system.
Now, in tougher economic times and high unemployment, the leverage is just gone for many unions.