|Union Strikes it Rich|
|Key Words||Union, Organizing, Manufacturing, Service, Wage, Turnover, Costs|
The vote by an overwhelming majority of the 74,000 Los Angeles County home care workers to join the Service Employees International Union is the biggest since 1937 when 112,000 General Motors workers voted to join the United Auto Workers. It has been heralded as the dawn of a new era for unions in the U.S.
The organizing success illustrates the switch in focus of unions from high-paid manufacturing jobs to low-paid service jobs, and from males to women and minorities. Unions now see their role as being to protect those in low-wage and high-turnover positions. In Los Angeles County, many home care providers earned only $5.75 an hour to feed and bathe elderly and disabled persons.
Employers are concerned at the cost implications, especially in health care where there are pressures to control costs. Unions expect future battles to be tough.
(Updated April 1, 1999)
|Source||Jeff Wilson, "Labor resurgence linked to huge victory", The Commercial Appeal, February 27, 1999.|
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