America's workers: A year of ups and downs

At a time when unemployment has remained stubbornly high for America, it's worth wondering whether what kind of role unions could and should be playing in the U.S. today.

Taking it to the streets
labor gallery 1 intro union strike

As another Labor Day approaches, we celebrate working Americans by looking at the ups and downs unions have faced this past year. No doubt about it, there's been more bad news than good, as lawmakers from a handful of states have tried to limit the strength of organized labor. But at a time when unemployment has remained stubbornly high, it's worth wondering whether what kind of role organized labor could and should be playing in the U.S. today.

Unions have developed an increasingly unsavory reputation in the U.S. over the past century. As The New York Times' Joe Nocera recently pointed out in his review of Timothy Noah's The Great Divergence, nearly 40% of American workers in the mid-1950s were either union members or non-members covered by union contracts. Today, unions represent a mere 12% of the workforce. Here's a look at the year in unions for 2012.

- Last updated August 31 2012 08:20 AM ET
Join the Conversation
Job-hunting law school grads will face a 'perfect storm'

To avoid joining the growing ranks of unemployed attorneys, says one expert, third-year students need to learn how to network -- and fast.

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.