U S Support For Labor Unions Is At 71% e4 club As Amazon, Starbucks Employees Organize

U S Support For Labor Unions Is At 71% e4 club As Amazon, Starbucks Employees Organize

However, if those leaders reach a decision they don’t like, they still have to go along with it. A 2010 study at the e4 club University of Washington found that voter turnout is 6.7 points higher among private-sector union members than among other private-sector workers. By contrast, in countries where unions have remained strong, income distribution is much more even. According to the 2015 IMF report, when rates of union membership in a nation go down, more of that nation’s income goes to the wealthiest inhabitants.

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  • Employers dislike COLA’s because they create inflationary spirals if some separate factor, such as increased demand for products, or unexpected increases in the cost of raw materials, triggers inflation.
  • As shown in the next section, this analysis is supported by the decline in the importance of the National Labor Relations Act after 1938.
  • Unions began forming in the mid-19th century in response to the social and economic impact of the Industrial Revolution.
  • As Commons noted in a report that also was signed by Mrs. Harriman and the business members, but not the labor members, the important issue was “whether the labor movement should be directed towards politics or toward collective bargaining” (Weinstein 1968, p. 202).

Studies typically find that unionized companies earn profits between 10 percent and 15 percent lower than those of comparable non-union firms. Unlike the findings with respect to wage effects, the research shows unambiguously that unions directly cause lower profits. Profits drop at companies whose unions win certification elections but remain at normal levels for non-union firms. One recent study found that shareholder returns fall by 10 percent over two years at companies where unions win certification. Numerous economic studies compare the average earnings of union and non-union workers, holding other measurable factors–age, gender, education, and industry–constant. These studies typically find that the average union member earns roughly 15 percent more than comparable non-union workers.

Unions Cause Job Losses

They soon formed fledgling craft unions in an attempt to resist sudden wage cuts, longer working hours, and unsafe working conditions, while also protecting their political, social, and economic rights. But they faced enormous resistance from employers and had little success until the 1890s. The final bill had President Carter’s endorsement after lengthy negotiations with union leaders in which he insisted that their challenge to right-to-work laws be dropped because his advisors were sure it would sink the other reforms. He also insisted that new owners of a business should not have to honor an existing union contract (Fink 1998, p. 245).

This is contributing to growing income inequality and a lack of social mobility. Examines the effects of unionism on employment growth in a sample of California manufacturing plants. Finds that jobs shrink by 4 percentage points more rapidly a year in unionized plants than in comparable non-union plants. The slower growth and faster contractions of unionized businesses explain up to three-fifths of the decline in union membership. Finds that the high cost of negotiating changes in working conditions causes a slow response to economic changes in union companies and that unions “tax” profitable investments by demanding higher wages when they occur, discouraging investment.


Collective bargaining is “both a result of labor’s power as well as a vehicle to control workers’ struggles and channel them in a path compatible with capitalist development” (Ramirez 1978, p. 215). Drawing on Kimeldorf’s new formulation concerning the importance of replacement costs in union success in that era, Ramirez’s point can be generalized to say that unionization is possible when workers can exercise a disruptive potential that threatens profits. That is, the unions that were organized in the late ninetieth and early twentieth centuries had a high disruptive capacity that was rooted in the difficulty of finding replacement workers in the face of strikes. Until the late 1880s and early 1890s, however, industrial companies were not part of this gradual corporatization.

Unions Promote Equality

Within a year, at least 93 steel companies had employee representation plans that covered over 90% of the workers in the industry. Ultimately, the act included section 7 because labor leaders and liberals demanded it (e.g., Bernstein 1950, Chapters 2 and 3; Schlesinger 1958, p. 99). The two most important liberals inWashington, Senator Wagner and Secretary of Labor Perkins, were adamant in their insistence that it be included, which reveals their sympathy for unions. Wagner, as the most respected and visible spokesman for urban liberals in Congress, told Roosevelt that there would be no law without the clause. Perkins, who had supported unions for decades, even though she found them narrow and shortsighted, made an appointment for her and Green of the AFL to see Roosevelt.

As a result, local leadership was always on the lookout for members whose behavior could put the interests of his co-workers in jeopardy. A lazy, useless worker was not going to “get by” on the protections offered by his union contract and any report of such behavior would be dealt with swiftly by the union steward in any given shop. The United Auto Workers helped bankroll the legendary March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta—perhaps the most revered Mexican American leaders to this day—led the United Farm Workers of America.

Pros Of Unions

The fact that unions have lost some clout these days is more a product of poor marketing on their part, rather than evidence that they’ve outlived their usefulness, insists David R. Levinson, an employment law attorney in Washington, D.C. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that as of 2021, the number of workers belonging to unions is at 14 million — or 10.3%. In 1983, the earliest year with comparable membership data, around 20% of workers were in unions, BLS said. Following those workers are health care and social assistance professionals, 13% of whom are union members, then white-collar workers (at 11%), and then administrative and clerical staff (at 10%).

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