New Orleans Well, Happy Valentine’s Day! Makes me think of millions of people going out to restaurants, lounges, movies, theaters, and wherever and toasting their sweeties, and then usually not leaving much of a tip later for the servers. Where’s the love?
Wherever it might be, it’s not for unions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics now says the Leisure and Hospitality subset of service sector employment is once again about 13,000,000 workers. That’s a lot of hospitality!
On the other hand despite all of the employees and the low wages and sorry working conditions in the back of the house for hospitality workers, the rate of unionization is only a smudge over 3%. North Carolina which trails the nation in unionization and is the scourge of unions has a 3% unionization rate if that helps you visualize how bad this is.
The 3+% unionization rate translates to about 310,000 union members of the US total.
If we wanted to zero in on one sector of employment that desperately needs real unions and real organizing drives to finally turn the tide and make a difference for low wage workers as well as revitalize the entire American labor movement, I would challenge brothers and sisters to come up with another set of workers where our potential is as great or the need as dramatic.
Happy Valentine’s Day to that!