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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR • BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
Compared with the United States, unemployment rates in most other industrial countries have been considerably lower in recent years. As the chart shows, the trends, too, have differed. In the United States and Canada, for example, the rates have risen irregularly, while those in Germany and Italy have fallen. But the figures need closer examination, because the statistical methods used in compiling them differ from country to country, in accordance with national needs and institutions. How much the differences in methods affect the levels is the subject of an article in the August issue.
Where more than one official series exists os in France and Italy, the most widely published series has been used.
A second article, to appear in a subsequent issue, will analyze some of the other reasons for the differences in unemployment rates—the demographic composition of the labor force, social institutions, laws, economic status, and the like.
The Labor Month in Review
bers. Until its most recent convention, Mr. Zander was a virtually unchallenged candidate for successive reelections.
A union with membership crowding the quartermillion mark (19th in size in the AFL-CIO), and with a claimed 25,000 new members in the first 3 months of 1962, certainly merits its slogan of "A Union with a Future." Yet three serious problems dog its present: a somewhat one-sided membership, inadequate financing, and factionalism. In one way or another, each problem intensifies the others.
AN ANALYSIS of trade union membership published in this journal last December stated that "the plateau which in general has existed since the 1950's still prevails." Unions of government employees, it pointed out, had moderate overall success in organizing between 1956 and 1960 with, a net rise in membership from about 915,000 to slightly more than a million. Employment in various levels of government meanwhile rose from an average of 7.4 million to close to 9 million.
At the AFL-CIO convention last year, John Livingston, director of organization, in lamenting the lack of growth of union membership in relation to the organizable labor force, pointed out that "in government there are 9 million people, in Federal, State, and local municipalities . . . and less than 15 percent of them are enrolled in the trade union movement.” Actually, about threefourths of all public employment is in the State and local governments-nearly 7 million. Many of these, of course, are elected officials or others considered unorganizable. It has been estimated by union spokesmen that perhaps 2 million of the total are potential members.
MORE THAN HALF of the members are in maintenance or other types of nonoffice jobs. For example, there are 35,000 in highway maintenance and street and sanitation departments. Another 65,000 are institutional workers. This means that from vast numbers of office-clerical and junior technical and professional employees of States and cities, the AFSCME has met the same resistance which most Federal employee unions have experienced to date. Well over half the membership is concentrated in nine States.
Its financial statement as presented to the convention in May showed a net worth of only $204,000, a decrease over the year of $36,000. Expenses of $1,962,000 exceeded income. Cash in commercial accounts totaled only $18,000, with an additional $63,000 in U.S. Bonds and savings accounts. Liabilities include substantial debts ($100,000) to other unions. Union officers blame the financial plight on the dues structure. Only 65 cents of membership dues go to the international, a situation which President Zander claims is almost unparalleled in AFL-CIO unions. Moreover, 50 cents of the per capita is earmarked for fixed costs other than organization.
The result, Mr. Zander has stated, is that “this union is in hock, we have borrowed to the limit ... our situation is serious." He has posed the alternatives of “either raise our per capita tax, and set about the business of organizing, or ... pull down the shades and go into semiretirement." This feeling that the union should be doing more to improve its situation is reflected in a letter from Walter P. Reuther, president of the United Auto Workers, transmitting a loan of $25,000 to the AFSCME shortly prior to the convention: ... The question which is repeatedly asked (by officers of the UAW and of the Industrial Union Department of the
The dominant union organizing the State and local field is the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees.
Because this union has such rich possibilities for growth and is viewed so hopefully in this respect by the trade union movement, and because last May it endured the throes of an intense factional contest at its convention, special interest attaches to it.
The AFSCME has a membership of nearly 225,000, perhaps 10 percent of what it might ideally achieve, and is divided about 3–2 as between State and local employees. Since 1946, membership has tripled. From the time of its inception as an AFL Federal Labor Union of Wisconsin State employees in 1932, its chief leader has been Arnold S. Zander. In 1936, the international union was formed with 9,000 mem