Democrats and union officials usually blame management obstruction, international competition, and growth of robots to explain the 80% decline in the percentage of Americans working in the private sector that are unionized. But Steve Early, longtime union staff member and prolific socialist writer, just published Save Our Unions: Dispatches From a Movement in Distress that directly blames bloated union overhead costs as a major contributor to the decline of the movement.
Early argues the “much expanded role of union staff experts, personnel managers, and outside arbiters” was never downsized as union membership dramatically declined. Early highlights the U.S. ratio of “union officialdom” is now over 5 times greater than Sweden and 6 times greater than Britain. He blames union bosses for spiking dues to protect their own dwindling empires as contributing declining membership.