Yesterday I interviewed Philip M. Dine, a longtime labor reporter and author of a new book "State of the Unions." We talked about a bunch of stuff, but this was an interesting bit that probably won't make into the story for the Philadelphia Inquirer that I'm reporting this week.
Dine said that unions benefit when the economy is a little bit bad, because people have an inherent interest in making sure every last bit of wealth and opportunity is not eaten up by corporate powers. That's when union issues, such as the challenge of organizing new work places, resonate. But when the economy really tanks, it is another story. Then, Dine said, union issues, even important ones, seem trivial when compared to more stark matters of survival.
You can click here to read a summary of his book.