Jewish Support for Unions on the Wane

“For more than a century, the Jewish community has struggled to make life better for working men and women. Whether founding the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU), rallying behind pro-union Democratic politicians or marching with Cesar Chavez for California farm workers’ rights, Jews have long been at the forefront of the labor movement. Temple Isaiah’s lunch for the disgruntled supermarket workers would seem a reflection of that long-standing tradition.

“[… But] at a time when supermarket and mass-transit workers have gone on strike over health care issues, Jews, like much of the population, no longer support organized labor as they once did. On a macro-level, union membership is way off, having dropped to 13.2 percent of the labor force in 2002 from 20.1 percent in 1983, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Some Americans have come to see unions as corrupt, bureaucratic and obsolete, said Michael Wissot, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition of Southern California.”

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