How the Loss of Union Power has Hurt American Manufacturing

Labor News

Minh Uong/The New York Times

Reprinted from The New York Times by  on April 20, 2018.

“Want to make America great again and keep factories in the United States?” writes Louis Uchitelle in The New York Times. “Try strengthening labor unions.

“That may seem counterintuitive, and certainly contrary to the direction the country has been moving in lately. But the reality is that when organized labor dug in its heels — as it did regularly in the United States until late in the 20th century — manufacturing companies thought twice about shutting a factory and transferring production to another country.

“As union membership declined, however, so did the political leverage of once nationally-known leaders like John L. Lewis, head of the United Mine Workers, and George Meany, the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s first president. Not since the Nixon and Ford administrations in the 1970s has a union leader served in a president’s cabinet as secretary of labor, or in a similar post. …

NY Times OpEd 4/20

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Jeff Burman represents assistant editors on the Guild’s Board of Directors. He can be reached at

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