Unions Out Of Touch With Workers.
This is not something new by any means. I saw it during my 20-year union membership (IBEW), with union officials at all levels espousing views and political beliefs in direct opposition to the rank and file. They supported political candidates that did not have the average American's well being as their focus. The candidates pandered to the unions, hoping for votes and contributions to their campaigns. Never mind their political beliefs were just this side of Marxism. (I have to disclose that much of what I saw took place in the People's Republic of Taxachusetts, a bastion of leftist-think rivaled only by Berkeley, California in its intensity.)
So why has union membership declined so far in the last 54 years? Some of it has to do with the changing American work trends. We've moved from large-scale industry to service and white-collar jobs, from big employers to small business, and from lifetime tenure to job insecurity and frequent career changes -- all of which makes union organizing more difficult. But the biggest problem for unions has been their own leadership, which has grown more out of touch with the people those unions hope to represent.
Many of the original reasons for labor unions no longer exist. Much of what unions fought for are now codified in law. As such, they've had to come up with new reasons to stay relevant, new groups of workers to maintain their raison d'être. It's one of the reasons public employees unions have become so prevalent today. Unfortunately the unions didn't do anyone any favors, helping to create the very economic conditions that are burying state and federal budgets in unsustainable entitlements. Not that the union leadership really cares as long as they can keep collecting union dues that pay for their salaries and perks. Union leaders have seen to it the government has shafted bondholders in favor of the unions, violating the law (and the Constitution) in the process. They don't care as long as they get theirs. The unions are no longer working to 'protect' the rank and file. It appears more the unions are working on just plain 'protection'. You know, like the Mob used to sell to local businesses.
One of the biggest mistakes made by Congress was allowing public employee unions to organize. It's one of the reasons government jobs pay more than private sector jobs and started the contraction of the private sector. They are killing the goose that provides the golden eggs they depend upon and heaping ever bigger tax burdens on the very people they'll need to survive. How is that in anyone's best interests?
Maybe it's time to take a page from the Right-To-Work states and eliminate the closed shop as it exists today. For the most part the time for labor unions has passed. They have no real reason to exist anymore...except to enrich the union leadership.