ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) — Thousands of union members converged on downtown Monday for the annual Labor Day parade, which celebrates a movement that has seen better times.

Philip M. Dine, author of State of the Unions: How Labor Can Strengthen the Middle Class, Improve Our Economy, and Regain Political Influence, contends labor has been declining for decades, and is having a hard time regaining a foothold. Some struggles can be chalked up to the loss of manufacturing jobs, but Dine says more so its because companies have gotten better at ‘union avoidance’.

“Counseling firms, law firms get paid handsomely to tell employers how to keep a union out of their workplace,” said Dine. Proof, according to Dine, why unions are still relevant.

Two lessons:

Dine says for labor to survive, it has to do two things:

“Not be so wedded to one political party, rather tell the public why labor is still relevant in 2013 and second is communications, actually get the message out.”

But Dine says that message has to show why historically, a strong labor movement is tied to a strong middle-class.

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