Unions are still grappling with how to organize the unemployed, including their own ex-members, into a political force.
Wrenching testimonies from laid-off workers are overflowing the internet, crying out from the pages of policy reports, and popping up in commercial media. But unions are still grappling with how to organize the unemployed, including their own ex-members, into a political force.
Department of Labor figures for December showed 13.1 million unemployed and actively looking for work, almost half of them for more than six months. Another 8.1 million were working part-time involuntarily, and 2.5 million were too discouraged to look for work.
Unfortunately, unions don’t do a good job of organizing this vast pool, said Tom Lewandowski, who spent nine years on layoff from GE starting in 1975.
Now, as president of the Northeast Indiana Central Labor Council in Fort Wayne, he’s leading an effort to survey unemployed workers, watchdog the county’s economic development, and demand accountability from the unemployment office for laid-off workers struggling to navigate the system. Read the rest of this entry →