The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 1983 -- the first year such statistics were available -- 20.1 percent of workers belonged to unions. But, by 2009, that plunged to only 12.3 percent.
The drop continued last year, down to 11.9 percent. And even though Illinois and Chicago are so-called "blue" strongholds, labor has differences with its usual Democratic allies, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Last year NewsViews guest Jorge Ramirez was elected president of the Chicago Federation of Labor, which is part of the Illinois AFL-CIO. He is the son of Mexican immigrants, and he and his wife are parents of four sons.