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IBEW represents about 675,000 members. These include both the wage and salary members. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers has members from different fields. They include members from construction, broadcasting, manufacturing, utilities, railroads and government. IBEW has members from Canada, United States and is one of the unions with the largest number of member in the United States. In 1983, membership was at 20.1%, but when comparison data became available in the year 2012, membership had declined to 11.8%. There are numerous trends that have contributed and are enduring to the decline in labor wage and salary union membership to IBEW. These factors or trends have continued to grow in strength.
Worldwide Deregulation and Competition in Traditionally Unionized Industries
For the past few, the United States administration has been deregulating heavily unionized unions or organization. These include members form airline industries, construction, railroad and trucking. These are some of the union members to IBEW. Deregulation has brought greater competition in the industry unions formation. This is both domestically and from abroad. Financial globalization has caused larger-scale layoffs and increasing economic uncertainty for workers or union members. This has limited IBEW efforts to raise its members benefits and wages for members.
Changes in the American Workforce and Demographics
The rising numbers of illegal immigrants fear deportation. They are disinclined or opposed to a complaint about the substandard employment conditions. There has also been decreased respect for organized union organizations by members. This has been brought about by IBEW lack of involvement in members social implications. As a result of the rising contingent workforce composed of both wage and salaried members in IBEW, the membership has continued to decline. Additionally, shifts in the American job markets from a stagnant state to the manufacturing sector have made many members withdraw their membership from IBEW. Creation of white collar jobs has also made many people move from technical occupation to office work. This has contributed to the declining membership of IBEW.
Federal Employment Law Supplanting IEBW Roles
When first created, IBEW had a mandate of protecting the rights of its union members. It had a role of creating a harmless and healthy working atmosphere or environment for its members, provide medical and family services. Over the years, the federal government has taken over these roles or union responsibilities. This had made IEBW irrelevant in protecting the welfare of its members. Workers can now get these services from the government. This has to a large extent made the local union irrelevant to many people or workers. Workers have moved from cultural or union movements to legislative protection.
Todays Workers Are Less Interested in Unionization
The declining membership of IEBW for past few years has occurred due to lack of interest by young members or employees. The current generation of workers comes from households where there are no good role models of unions that are effective. Over 70% of todays civilian workers are under the age of 45. These workers are highly mobile and educated. Old members are not thus being replaced at IEBW. Such young workers care more about their career advanced and not their wages. To them unions are not relevant to their career advancement. These young workers are also concerned about their quality of life. This is something that IEBW cannot provide.
Plans That Can Be Executed To Halt the Decline in Membership
The local union, IEBW can increase the Political action in the running of the union. This can be one initiative to increase membership among new members or groups of workers. Implementing successive reforms that are inclusive can help reduce the decline in membership. Having strategic plans that addresses the needs and concern of the current young workers can help attract new members to the union. Such initiatives or policies can aim at improving employment stability and quality. IEBW should strive to achieve institutional legitimacy and strengthen the identification and addition of potential members, mainly temporary workers.
Another strategy that the local union can do to reduce the decline is to have a strategic approach to issues concerning workers. This will enable the union to extend the content of shared bargaining to represent the new needs and demands expressed by emerging groups of workers. The local union can also set up a variety of awareness and information campaigns. They should develop and tailor these campaigns to meet the needs of the target groups. These campaigns should give more information and address the topics that distress them in their day to day lives. The campaign can also address issues of gender inequality in employment. Such a campaign will sensitize people in the disparities present in the job market. Women who get employed as a result of these awareness campaigns can later join the union.
Even if it is challenging to establish the influence of local trade union, strategies need to be put forward. These strategies must aim at increasing membership for new groups of workers. The strategies put forward must ensure that departments are created to address the needs of women, junior workers and immigrants’ workers.