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Adventures in Clintonomics: Number One in a Series

Secretary of Labor Robert Reich attributes drop in private sector organized labor to unfriendly regulatory environment.

Senator Paul Simon (Democrat, Illinois): "Sixteen percent of our work force, working men and women, belong to organized labor. But if you take out the governmental sector, it is 11.8%. No other industrial country, with the exception of South Korea, has that kind of a low rate. My question is, number one, do you think this is healthy, and number two, if it is not healthy, what can we do about it?"

Robert Reich: "Number one, I don't think it's healthy, Senator. . . . As you stated, in the private sector, organized labor is down to 11.8%, and it's going down. With regard to young people entering the work force, it's much lower than that. I think part of the reason is due to the 1980s, to some obstructions, and to some difficulties that labor had organizing itself, given the unfriendly environment, the regulatory environment, and I'll do everything I can to make that environment more friendly."

-- From the hearing of the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee on the confirmation of Robert Reich as secretary of labor (January 7, 1993)

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Last updated: Apr 1, 1993

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