Protecting Employers Since 1985

State of Unions

With the passage of another Labor Day, which was surprisingly quiet in regard to demonstrations and parades supporting organized labor, it is time to take a “quick look” across the landscape to see what the current status of organized labor truly is.

While it is very clear that private sector Union Membership has again hit an all-time low – 6.4%, Unions continue to grow in the public sector arena and this may pose even bigger problems for the country with the attendant cost and potential pension related issues. One need only track what has gone on in the State of Illinois and the legislative stupidity in funding Union Pension Plans exercised by the State Legislators that now create a potential financial disaster for Illinois taxpayers.

It is interesting to note that in a recent survey conducted by the Gallup Poll, 61% of adults say that they approve of Labor Unions and that figure was five (5) percentage points higher than last Labor Day and thirteen (13) percentage points higher than an all-time low in 2009. While Unions will never ever attain the standing they enjoyed in the 30’s and 40’s (approximately 70% support of adults), it appears that adult support is on the upswing.

Also coloring perception of Unions are the various “Union Scandals” that have recently been portrayed in the media (for example, John T. Coli, Sr. indictment for embezzlement and the indictments in the Detroit Area for the UAW embezzlement saga).

While no one can 100% predict what is going to happen in the future, the author does not believe that there will be a substantial growth of Union involvement in the private sector, but that Unions will continue to achieve success in the public sector arena. This bodes ill for all tax payers, especially in Illinois!

Questions? Contact Attorney Walter Liszka in our Chicago office at (312) 629-9300 or by email at

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