The position taken by a British Labour government, almost alone in Europe, in standing out against extending workers' collective rights through the European Union's Charter of Fundamental Rights, shows how committed they have become to a model of the labour market light years from the philosophies of the party's founders.
Yet ' New Labour' in government has been sympathetic to many union aims and has advanced the condition of many workers since 1997 through the minimum wage, unfair dismissal rights, recognition rights and so on.
In 2006, for example, a modestly-reforming private members' Trade Union Freedom Bill, though supported by well over a hundred MPs, sank without trace in the face of government hostility.
In Southeast Michigan, big labor isn't so big anymore.
Membership is down and Michigan's recent right-to-work law may challenge those numbers further.
But it has gained little credit for this, because it has simultaneously refused to address the bigger issue of collective rights, fearing the political fall-out from what would most likely be portrayed in the press as a restoration of trade-union power.
The question which trade-union activists must ponder is why there is so little media interest or public support for their many attempts to pressurise the government to repeal all the anti-union laws.
However, with Michigan's hourly wages, adjusted for inflation, at the lowest rate in more than 30 years, a new labor movement is afoot.
Local experts say there is an increase in protests and litigation — the unintended consequences of a dismantled union workforce. Nationally, unions lost nearly 400,000 members in 2012 alone, down to 11.3 percent of the workforce, or 6.6 percent of private-sector workers.
They’re going to hear about the tens of thousands of toys and turkeys the union donates every Christmas,” Keel said.
The FBI declined comment on this case, citing an ongoing investigation.
In Michigan, union members accounted for 16.6 percent of workers, compared with 17.5 percent in 2011 and more than 25 percent in the 1980s and 1990s.
David Hecker, executive vice president of the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO and vice president of the American Federation of Teachers Michigan union, said Michigan is a war zone for worker's rights, and it's beyond just unionization."We've lost some major battles, but the commitment that we're going to win this war is so rock solid; more and more people are saying, 'We're not going to let them take away our voice at the workplace,' " Hecker said.
"The system of fighting back is pervasive; it's well beyond just the ranks of unionized labor."Activism transformed? Library of Congress, union membership fell to 3 million in 1933, from 5 million a decade earlier."We are heading toward what I would call a pre-New Deal environment when the unions were smaller and dispersed," Zullo said.