The question of do unions function in the same manner today as they did, 60 years ago is the very problem with unions today. The unions do function, as a whole, in the same manner, which has led to the declination of their numbers. The old model has not been able to assist them in growing their numbers. To understand the complexity of the union is to understand the simplicity in which they function. One of the issues they did not address was the changing demographics of their members. This was an issue in the earliest days of the union in the first decades of the 20th Century, even more apparent after World War II, and now in the 21st Century.
Membership within unions has been in decline since the 1960’s. Coincidentally the income gap between the upper and lower classes has been widening since this period of time. With the onset of globalization corporations have been able to shift manufacturing overseas thus leading to the perception unions are no longer needed as the United States shifts to a service oriented workforce. The question still exist as far as manufacturing ever becoming the behemoth it once was in the United States. Manual labor has found a new home in the service sector, but who is still doing the work and why are they not organized; are these individuals aware of the concept of unionism? Unions are becoming obsolete or does the possibility still exist in which unions can redefine itself in order to serve the changing workforce in the United States.
Technology has enabled complex organizations the ability to redefine the role the worker plays within an organization. Corporations clearly understand how the subcultures function within their organization and study how to control such environments. The employee plays a bigger role than they realize in promoting the policies of the company over any benefit for themselves. Peer pressure enables the group to steer any independent individual towards the company goal. Profit is the goal and control of the worker is necessary in achieving this goal. In achieving such goals barriers such as state and federal legislation outline the rights of the worker, thus limiting the company from applying any type of abusive behavior to increase production from the worker. What the worker does or does not understand is the union that gives the worker true power if they work together collectively.
Unions do not have the ability to invest millions of dollars into the field of technology in order to become a more efficient tool in dealing with the complex organization for their members. The unions do not have the funds at their disposal in order to study the diverse workforce they potentially could use to represent as union members. In the past, the work force consisted of two groups of people, white and African Americans. Union was a concept that, during a thirty year period during and after the Great Depression as a means for a group, collectively, of individuals to sue for basic rights a laborers. The concept of union was even easier to sell after the second world war as the economy began to boom. African Americans and women benefited the most from unions during World War II, as they gained a new found equality in the workplace in the form of rights and pay that they had not experienced previously in America, but quickly found their way as second tier union members after the war.
The rising numbers of immigrants into the fabric of America does not guarantee that these immigrants will embrace the idea of unity when assimilation into a new society that has serious issues in accepting those very same immigrants; many Americans do not realize these immigrants come from previously unionized countries. Unions have dealt poorly with minorities in the past and Unions still have the astigmatism of being associated with the mafia or a socialist organization. The negative perceptions of unions are because of a few reasons, including the fact that society does not know the true history of unions.
This lack of knowledge of union history and the concept of unionism led to the lack of interest in unionism. The assimilation of a diverse group of individuals, such as women, minorities, and immigrants, has become necessary; and more importantly, understanding of these individuals has become extremely important. never addressed the issue as the years passed. The debate over the acceptance of those who have resided in the country for decades illegally further limits the ability for the union to organize as these potential members are illegally living and working in the United States.