THE LAST several years have been especially difficult for American labor unions. Demagoging politicians have scapegoated them. Declining membership numbers have weakened them.


Now representing only about 11 percent of the workforce – down from 20 percent three decades ago – labor unions have experienced a significant drop in support, one recently fueled by the 2012 Supreme Court decision against the Service Employees International Union (Knox v. SEIU), one seemingly embodied in the 2014 Volkswagen employee vote against United Auto Workers membership.


Yet, despite these negative developments, labor unions still matter in a big way. In fact, they are not only still relevant, they are altogether necessary.


And I say that as a mayor who effectively sits on the other side of the bargaining table.

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