California unions grow, bucking U.S. trend
The latest snapshot of the U.S. working class shows that unions are in trouble, their ranks thinning amid a backlash against organized labor and a still sputtering economy.
But California and a few nearby states in the Southwest are showing a vastly different picture — labor's ranks are on an upswing. The Golden State's union organizers signed up more than 100,000 new members last year, while the nation as a whole shed 400,000, according to data released Wednesday.
The reason: Latino workers. ...
"There's an appetite among these low-wage workers to try and get a collective voice to give themselves opportunity and a middle-class lifestyle," said Steve Smith, a spokesman for the California Labor Federation.
Just 12.5% of the workforce was represented by unions nationwide in 2012, down from 13% the year before. But 18.4% of California's workforce was represented by a union last year, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. ...
Demographics equals destiny in today's United States.
You don't need to look any further than the last election to figure that out. If the Latino population was the size it was ... oh ... thirty-plus years ago, we'd all be saluting President Romney's first 100 days in office.
But the population numbers are what they are. And if you don't carry the fastest-growing voting bloc in the country, you are going to have problems. The GOP has been pretty much non-competitive in California for the last twenty years because the strategy of the Republican Party has been to demonize Latinos. ("We urge you to self deport.")
Not a real swift idea if you're looking to win elections.
I've been to a few Los Angeles Federation of Labor meetings. Lots of faces around the table are Latin. They know where their leverage is, and they use it. They don't have a lot of money, but they have numbers.