There was a time and not that long ago when one of every three working Americans was a member of a union.

Unions were among the most powerful players in national politics, dominating the Democratic Party and having genuine influence in the segments of the Republican Party as well.

But that's all changed. Today, only one of every 10 working Americans are union members, and there is no real prospect for that to change for the better any time soon.

What happened?

Starting today, the Washington Examiner's Sean Higgins -- joined by a stellar lineup of knowledgeable experts on labor law and issues — looks at the answers to that question.

The result is a five-part series, "Out of touch With America: Are unions obsolete?" Today, Sean looks at Big Labor's identity crisis and the hard numbers that illustrate the amazing decline in union power and influence since the 1950s.

Sean is joined today by the Manhattan Institute's Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist of the U.S. Department of Labor, who looks at how public employee unions are driving many states into unsustainable debts that could ultimately bankrupt them.

Out of touch with America

Continuing tomorrow and through Friday, the Are Unions Obsolete special report will provide a treasure trove of facts many Americans have never before been told.

For example, there is the amazingly low number of union members who have ever had an opportunity to vote on whether to let their union continue representing them.

And did you know there is an industrial renaissance growing in the American heartland sparked in great part by right-to-work laws?

Then there is Pamela Harris, a courageous Illinois woman, who stood up to the SEIU when it and corrupt politicians in her state tried to take money intended to help her disabled son and give it to the union.

How to save America's unions

The series doesn't just look at what afflicts unions today, Higgins also talked to American leaders who are building new paths for workers to prosperity and job security, including Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana and Sen. Orrin Hatch.

The series concludes with an analysis of the Employee Rights Act reforms to restore accountability and responsiveness to unions.

The series includes a wealth of text, charts and graphs, videos and even an e-book. This is indeed a "special" report for anybody who cares about the future of unions and the American worker.

On today's

Monday's Editorial: U.S. taxpayers on the hook for Oregon's Obamacare debacle.

Sunday's Editorial: Supreme Court case could open floodgates on patent troll lawsuits.

Columnist/Hugh Hewitt: GOP should nurture future prospects like the NFL draft.

Columnist/James Jay Carafano: Who will ensure freedom of the seas if the U.S. can't?

Columnist/Michael Barone: Thomas Piketty wants income equality and the hell with growth.

Columnist/Star Parker: A new America demands courageous new conservative leadership.

Beltway Confidential/Byron York: Age was issue for Ronald Reagan in 1980 and will be for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Beltway Confidential/Sean Higgins: Media Matters for America digs in against unionizing staff.

PennAve/David M. Drucker: Homeland security chief wants more "effective" immigration enforcement.

PennAve/David M. Drucker: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence doesn't rule out 2016 White House run.

Legal Newsline/Jon Campisi: Amedisys settles False Claims Act charges with Uncle Sam for $150 million.

In other news

The Washington Post: Sarah Palin soldiers on as a diminished figure in GOP.

The New York Times: One therapist, $4 million in Medicare billings.

USA Today: Obama says more sanctions coming for Russia.

CBS News: Floppy disks and U.S. nukes.

The Los Angeles Times: Egyptian judge sentences 683 Islamists to death.

CNN: Google is now the future, not Siri.

Newsweek: Koch Brothers' money hasn't brought them as much power as many think.

Righty Playbook

National Review: Michael Mann's campaign against free thought.

American Spectator: Changing immigration politics in Colorado.

The Weekly Standard: The closing of the academic mind.

Bonus must-read

The Federalist: In Washington, it's politics by any means necessary.

Lefty Playbook

The Nation: The unbearable whiteness of the American Left.

The Washington Monthly: How Wayne LaPierre increases gun sales.

Salon: How "Mad Men" became TV's most controversial show.

Bonus must-read

Mother Jones: Why asking too much of workers in their off-hours can seriously backfire.

Blog Right

Wizbang: States starting to rebel against federal control.

Gateway Pundit: David Brock admits to working with media on stories.

Jammie Wearing Fools: Woman-beating Obama donor is fired.

Blog Left

Talking Points Memo: GOP glued itself to Cliven Bundy, now hates that he sticks.

Kevin Drum: Flipping burgers is the new black.

AmericaBlog: FDA to propose new e-cig regulations.