Blue Collar Music


Union membership had been steadily declining in the US since 1983. In 2007, the labor department reported the first increase in union memberships in 25 years and the largest increase since 1979. Most of the recent gains in union membership have been in the service sector while the number of unionized employees in the manufacturing sector has declined. Most of the gains in the service sector have come in West Coast states like California where union membership is now at 16.7% compared with a national average of about 12.1%.[8]

Union density (the percentage of workers belonging to unions) has been declining since the late 1940s, however. Almost 36% of American workers were represented by unions in 1945. Historically, the rapid growth of public employee unions since the 1960s has served to mask an even more dramatic decline in private-sector union membership.

At the apex of union density in the 1940s, only about 9.8% of public employees were represented by unions, while 33.9% of private, non-agricultural workers had such representation. In this decade, those proportions have essentially reversed, with 36% of public workers being represented by unions while private sector union density had plummeted to around 7%. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics most recent survey indicates that union membership in the US has risen to 12.4% of all workers, from 12.1% in 2007. For a short period, private sector union membership rebounded, increasing from 7.5% in 2007 to 7.6% in 2008. However, that trend has since reversed. In 2009, the union density for private sector stood at 7.2%.

I’m sorry, but as much as I value the work they do there is a qualitative difference between government and private sector workers. Public sector employees have civil service protection and they get paid with our tax dollars.

In California the correctional officers unions have financed numerous draconian new laws creating new crimes and extending the sentences of old ones. This creates job security for them and overcrowded prisons.

Even more ridiculous are millionaire professional athletes going on strike.

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58 Responses to Blue Collar Music

    • propertius says:

      The first time I got laid off (office closure, so everyone was in the same boat), we put that song on an endless loop on the PA system on our last day. 😉

  1. The French may need tort reform.

    A Frenchman has been ordered to pay his ex-wife £8,500 in damages for failing to have enough sex with her during their marriage.

  2. WMCB says:

    I was born on a Sunday, by Thursday I had me a job….

  3. imustprotest says:

    OMG Obama’s making a speech right now and the crowd is chanting: “Four more years!” “Four more years”! He says, “you’re fired up!”
    gag me please…..

  4. WMCB says:

    OT, but Ralph and LJinAustin, are you guys okay? Really bad fires around Austin right now. At least 350 homes lost so far. Sending a prayer for my friends in that area. Nothing yet near San Antonio, and I hope it stays that way, but all the timber around here is dry as a bone

  5. imustprotest says:

    Referring to his speech “I don’t want to give it all away here….cuz I want ya’ll to tune in on Thursday….” “But I’ll give ya just a little bit…”
    chants continue….”four more years”…….

    • @grace_lightning: A man behind #obama is crying

    • DeniseVB says:

      Infrastructure stimulus is coming and his union buddies will be hired. Same speech he gave last year, year before…….blue states only need apply….lol. This sounds like a campaign speech to his base.

      Only this time he’s giving Congress his plan and says they better pass it. What plan? No details? Guess we’ll have to tune in Thurs/snort.

      He’ll stand up of collective bargaining “four more years” chanting!

      Digs at Wisconsin and SC ?

    • myiq2xu says:

      Are you sure they weren’t yelling “Four more beers?”

      That’s how he packed them in back in 2008

    • dorkle says:

      I somehow doubt that they’re all even union members. The “four more years” bs sounds like crap I hear from kids at my university.

      It’s probably some elaborate ruse in order to dupe people into believing that he is still popular.

      And weren’t the unions pissed off at him a few weeks back? Now, they’re all buddy buddy with him? I don’t buy it.

  6. imustprotest says:

    They’re still chanting “four more years”…..this is surreal. I can’t turn it off….it’s like watching a bad accident.

  7. imustprotest says:

    Jonathan Alter says after the speech, “anybody who thinks he’s lost his mo-jo better watch that speech.”

    • DeniseVB says:

      Fox just played a clip of Jimmy Hoffa, Jr’s remarks bashing the tea party and declared “war” to take those “son of a bitches” out. “President Obama we are your army” ! Nice civility, huh?

    • dorkle says:

      Well, at the least, we now have a glimpse of the way the media will be crawling up his ass on Thursday (really, they’ve been doing that entire time but they’ll put more effort in on Thurs).

    • WMCB says:

      Alter proves once again that he is a world-class idiot. Calling the ability to give a rousing, hypnotic, preacher-man speech a “qualification” for POTUS is what got us in this mess.

      I feel like I’m on the deck of Odysseus’ ship, and Alter is one of the more moronic crew: “Yeah, those sirens are going to eat our lunch and kill us in horrible ways, but unplug your ears and listen to the PIPES on them!”

      • imustprotest says:

        Once again, it’s all about Obama. Lord knows we’re all so worried about Obama losing his “mojo”. Forget the economy, unemployment….the mojo is back! Praise the Lord!!!!

  8. ROFLMAO- the tv is showing Hoffa’s warm up- he looks and sounds drunk. He is actually SPITTING! You can hear it!
    Hoffa talking about taking people out- inciting a little violence there isn’t he? These people make me sick.

  9. myiq2xu says:


    Here’s the thing, though. Have you noticed what’s been happening to Obama as he tries to schedule things?

    First, Obama absolutely has to tell us all about this awesome plan he has. But not today. Next week. When the Republicans are scheduled to debate. On NBC.

    (By the way, don’t NBC and Obama talk any more? Maybe when Obama gets up in the morning, he doesn’t wake NBC. Then, he’s off to the golf course before NBC even gets out of bed.)

    Anyway, Obama wanted to give this oh-so-important speech on Wednesday, September 7, the same night as the GOP debate. Then Claire Shipman’s husband came out and said, “The Republicans can move their debate. It’ll be okay with us.”

    And NBC was, like, “awkward!” Then John Boehner (he’s the Speaker of the House or something) was all, like, “No, I’m doing my hair that night, so do it another night.”

    So then Obama said he’d do it the next night. But then someone realized that the NFL was playing that night. (On a Thursday night? I thought that was reserved for 2nd-tier college football teams.)

    Then Obama was all, “Oh, football? I forgot about that. We didn’t have that in Kenya when I was a boy.”

    So, now, it’s still Thursday night, but at 7:00 PM.

    Which means that the east coast gets to hear Obama speak, but the left coast will be at work (those that work, anyway) and not able to hear him.

    What does all this mean?

    It means that we’ve now discovered we can treat Obama like the pretty girls treat the nice-but-don’t-want-to-date-him guy from school.

    (h/t Legal Insurrection)

  10. 1539days says:

    I wrote about this a while back.

    The idea of a public sector union is kind of funny, because the government is the entity that makes labor law. If they didn’t want to be fair with unions, they could just rewrite the law to take away all of their rights. The private sector just closes the factory so there’s nothing to picket around. Union power is entirely dependent on the support of the public and they feel increasingly disconnected from unions, both economically and ideologically.

    The unions for their part have essentially given up on manufacturing. They’re in trucking (which can’t be outsourced and is bigger because of it) and the service industry (SEIU) as well as government. When a taxpayer’s taxes go to employees who make more than they do with full benefits, it’s like a regressive tax on the lower wage workers. I know that argument is a class warfare statement, but it also reflects the fact that unions in this country are more interested in keeping what they’ve got rather than raising everyone up.

    • sandress says:

      My experience with American public sector unions is limited, so I can’t really address what you’re saying. But if I’m going to engage in class warfare, I’d prefer not to start with lateralized attacks and aim high. How about we take aim at the people who are legitimately oppressing the poor rather than at the middle class who are doing slightly less bad than the working class?

    • WMCB says:

      I get tired of the hyperbole surrounding unions, especially public ones.

      I hear all the time how the unions are the only things standing between us and a return to child labor and 7 day work weeks and grossly unsafe factories, etc. “ZOMG we’ll all die of black lung or hideous injuries in unsafe sweatshops working alongside 10 year olds if unions are weakened!!! AAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!”

      Bullshit. That’s an utter lie. Now, if you want to claim that it was the unions that ended those practices, you are correct. I’m grateful for that. But all of those things I mentioned, in subsequent years, were taken out of the realm of collective bargaining, and enshrined in law. We have labor laws. We have OSHA. We have regulations, and all sorts of structure in place that has done a damn good job of taking the unions’ gains and making them PERMANENT, or as permanent as one can get. If every union went bust tomorrow, those laws and protections would still exist.

      If you want to make an honest argument about the good that unions can still do TODAY, then fucking make it. Let’s hear it. But stop with the decades-old scary boogeymen that do not exist anymore as your justification. It’s a transparent scare tactic.

      • sandress says:

        I don’t know. We have plenty of laws that go unenforced and laws that get overturned. Especially with such a corrupt government. Large corporations do whatever the fuck they like until they are actually forced to abide by those laws. So having laws to enforce labor standards means dick all without a pointy stick to enforce them with. To a certain extent, also, regulatory fines are a mere drop in the bucket for a corporation. They have to cut into their profit margins significantly to be worth avoiding. Now, a big-ass strike that shuts down the industry would do that. But a six figure, one time fine, probably would not.

        In addition to that, what is so wrong with collective bargaining? This is all lateralized oppression. Why is nobody bitching about the professional organizations that spend big money lobbying on behalf of doctors and psychologists and engineers (in addition to their real job of furthering the profession and policing ethics), but they bitch and moan if teachers and nurses cut a good break?

        Unions exist to protect easily replaced workers (this is not a comment on the value of the work done by unionized workers, or their level of skill) from unfair treatment. The perception in this country is that since the factories closed we have no working class. Which is bullshit. The middle class is being erased. There’s more working class than ever, as debt loads skyrocket and standard metrics of class plummet. We are now ALL easily replaced. I’m getting a doctorate degree, and I will be easily replaced in ten years. Why? Because insurance companies write the rules, not health care professionals, or consumers, or the government. And while I can choose my clients, and vote for my government and my union leadership and my professional organization leadership, I cannot influence in any way shape or form the leadership of the large corporations that affect my life enormously. Not unless I’m of the “investor class”. Which I will never be. Which most of us will never be.

        Corporations are more powerful than we are. They own us. The only thing we have on them is that there are more of us than there are of them. We ARE the little guys. Collective Bargaining is our tool, it is the only thing we’ve got to protect us, OSHA be damned. The time has come to pick up the pointy stick and defend ourselves. This is the pointy stick.

        • jjmtacoma says:


        • imustprotest says:

          Excellent Sandress. Thank you too.

        • 1539days says:

          Guess what? The corporations own the unions, too. No jobs, no union. That’s what happened to manufacturing unions, which have virtually disappeared. Strikes themselves are becoming rare, because the unions generally lose. Verizon workers went back and they still have no contract.

          Imagine if unions got together and demanded a higher minimum wage, even though it may bring everyone’s salary closer to a union employee. And where is the union pension money invested? Maybe they should take it out of companies where the CEO makes too much money. I still think that if unions believe the management is the problem, take over a voting stake in the company and do some management.

      • soupcity says:

        Thank you WMCB, unions have morphed into a huge money making machine for political purposes. I know this because I have seen and felt how much money has left my family’s pockets and has equaled absolutely nothing. My mother and father both had union jobs, guess who pays my mom every month? Guess who’ll pay (one of two and probably both) hubby’s pensions if he kicks before me? PBGC. (going broke too by the way)

  11. propertius says:

    I’m sorry, but as much as I value the work they do there is a qualitative difference between government and private sector workers. Public sector employees have civil service protection and they get paid with our tax dollars.

    Of course that’s true, but then government workers work for an employer which has a monopoly on certain fields (police, fire), has a legal monopoly on the use of force, and can rewrite both civil service laws and labor regulations at will (and if you don’t think that’s true, then exactly what is happening to all those “guaranteed” public pensions, anyway?). Public employees have civil service protection only until politicians decide that they can get away with removing them.

    Yeah, it might be in my interests as an employer of government workers to see them have less power in the workplace – but I’m not sure it’s in the long-range best interests of society (or me as a worker, myself) to see yet another group of workers lose what little leverage they still have.

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