Over the past three decades, however, this situation has taken a turn for the worse as both the number of jobs in manufacturing and the number of unionized jobs have declined sharply. In 1979, for example, manufacturing accounted for nearly one-quarter of all jobs in this country and about the same share of the total workforce was in a union. Today, only about one-in-10 jobs is in manufacturing, and roughly 13 percent of the workforce is in a union or represented by one at their workplace. [...]And here in Michigan we have the "right-to-work" crowd stirring the pot. These attacks on labor are discouraging, but as King often said, "We, as a people, will get to the promised land!”
Meanwhile, probably the most important reason for the simultaneous drop in unionization was corporate America's deliberate decision to adopt a more hostile attitude toward unions. Many firms have relocated plants overseas or in states with little union presence as part of a conscious effort to evade unions. [...]
Employers also regularly violate other aspects of the NLRA designed to protect workers' freedom to form unions. Research... has estimated that one-in-five workers actively involved in organizing a union can expect to be fired in the middle of a union organizing election.
In his lecture, "The Quest for Peace and Justice", King said...
Let me close by saying that I have the personal faith that mankind will somehow rise up to the occasion and give new directions to an age drifting rapidly to its doom. In spite of the tensions and uncertainties of this period something profoundly meaningful is taking place. Old systems of exploitation and oppression are passing away, and out of the womb of a frail world new systems of justice and equality are being born.If Martin Luther King were alive today, I have no doubt he'd be openly critical of the economic inequality in our country. King believed all work has dignity and worth and it was a crime for people to live in this rich nation and receive starvation wages. It's up to us to continue his fight.