Friday, April 18, 2014 · 10:57 p.m.
Print
Labor Day, created to recognize American workers, often prompts discussion about unions. (Photo: Contributed)

Labor Day celebrates American workers, and inevitably provokes discussion about unions. 

CNN Money and Fortune highlighted the highs and lows of American unions last week. And, locally, union movements are met with limited public support. 

It is unclear who originally proposed the holiday, the first of which was celebrated Sept. 5, 1882 in New York City in connection with plans of the Central Labor Union, according to the United States Department of Labor.

In the past 100 years, union participation has waned. In the 1950s, almost 40 percent of American workers were either union members of nonmembers covered by union contracts, according to The New York Times, as reported by CNN Money.

Now, unions represent about 12 percent of the workforce, CNN Money reported.

Recentlya group that called itself Workers of Chattanooga Times Free Press, whose leaders remained anonymous, attempted to unionize the newspaper.

The group has cited lack of raises and an overburdened, underappreciated staff as part of the reasons for the need to organize. But the group hasn't responded to Nooga.com or posted on its Facebook page since July. 

Talks of unionizing Volkswagen also come and go in Chattanooga.  Historically, it has been more difficult to unionize in the South, which is why some auto plants have been coming to Southern states. 

But in February, Indiana became a right-to-work state, and the implications of that recent move could stretch south to Tennessee.

Last Decemberthe National Labor Relations Board adopted a rule that will expedite elections allowing employees to vote on whether or not to unionize a workforce.

And last summer, local organization Chattanooga Organized for Action took to the streets during Riverbend to express support for unions

But as one editorial points out—today is Labor Day, not Union Day. 

Print
Reader's Recap
Daily news delivered directly to your inbox.   sign up
Press Esc to close