• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Union membership up during hard times

September 7, 2009 7:02:43 PM PDT
The 30th annual Labor Day march in Wilmington was preceded by the first news in years that union membership is increasing. Union membership has declined nationwide for ten years and has been relatively stable in California.

Brother and Sister-in-Law Robert and Rose Hale belong to different unions. Both feel that a union is the only way to go.

"Provided me with a living, put my son thru college, bought a couple of houses," lists Robert Hale.

"We have a lot more security, and my dad was in the industry 44 years and they worked hard for what we have today," says Rose Hale.

As the march and rally were underway the UCLA study on union membership was being rolled out.

In the L.A. area, there has been a nearly 25,000-person increase in union membership.

Statewide, there are more than 131,000 new union members.

The study notes there has been a serious decline in union membership. The author says even with layoffs and closures, now there are increases.

Los Angeles has an estimated 1.2 million union members. That's nearly half of the 2.7 million union members statewide.

"It sounds like what people are realizing is the benefits of belonging to a union," says Janice Hahn of the Los Angeles City Council.

Maria Elena Durazo heads the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. They've been able to get thousands of hotel workers and home care workers to join the union. And the recession with its uncertainty has helped.

"I think that there are greater fears, and so you feel the insecurities of not having representation and not having collective bargaining. You don't have a chance to fight back," says Durazo.

It is the first good news regarding growing union membership they've had in years. As Durazo says it indicated that when you organize, it does pay off

Report Typo |  Send Tip |  Get Alerts | Most Popular
Follow @abc7 on Twitter  |  Become a fan on Facebook


Load Comments