Bryce Edwards writes a big long whinge about the future of unions at the NZ Herald.
It is a bit forlorn, but he tries to fill it with hope and promise. The bottom line though is unions are no longer relevant for modern workers. The numbers show that.
Many of the tributes paid to Helen Kelly in the last week acknowledged her success in raising the profile and positive perception of the union movement. More than ever before, unions are less reliant on industrial muscle and more on winning the public relations battle – getting consumers and voters on side with their campaigns and political interventions.
Kelly was a talented leader but the hard reality of union health remains grim. The movement she led has been barely holding its own after a catastrophic collapse in the 1990s.
The public isn’t necessarily convinced about unions. According to UMR’s 2016 Mood of the Nation report, unions are the second least trusted institution – with only 30 per cent of those surveyed having confidence. This is more than the media (26%), but less than big business (31%), churches (33%), and banks (44%).