We love to be trendsetters here in California, leaders, visionaries and so we are . When it comes to union membership, CA has increased its numbers by 100,000 while in the rest of the country has lost about 400,000 of those jobs. The obvious question is why? Well, the basic explanation is that CA has a lot of jobs that cannot be outsourced.... specifically hospitality ( hotels) and health care (hospitals). In addition we have a lot of public employees that are unionized and that makes a difference. In addition there is a huge surge in the Latino workforce here. In the northeast and midwest, industries like auto, apparel, manufacturing have been sent overseas and there you go.
Unions in the past have offered job security, better working conditions, increased pay, health benefits and even a pension! They still do, but fewer companies want to go that far, so there are, in general fewer union jobs, and the ones that do exist now seem to be going to blue collar, lower wage types. Unions roles have also evolved to become politically powerful groups that can help elect candidates, pass laws, and influence politicians (Though in LA you'll note the theoretically all powerful County Federation of Labor endorsed and spent millions on failed Mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel.) This weekend begins the national AFL CIO convention here in Los Angeles, which is a major deal. There will be workshops, meetings, seminars, speeches and all that. The national head of that group has said unions are ''in crisis''. Not necessarily true here, so maybe the rest of the country can follow CA and keep unions strong and thriving.