What Unions No Longer Do
From workers' wages to presidential elections, labor unions once exerted tremendous clout in American life. In the immediate post-World War II era, one in three workers belonged to a union. The fraction now is close to one in five, and just one in ten in the private sector. The only thing big about Big Labor today is the scope of its problems. While many studies have explained the causes of this decline, What Unions No Longer Do shows the broad repercussions of labor's collapse for the American economy and polity. Organized labor was not just a minor player during the middle decades of the twentieth century, Jake Rosenfeld asserts. For generations it was the core institution fighting for economic and political equality in the United States. Unions leveraged their bargaining power to deliver benefits to workers while shaping cultural understandings of fairness in the workplace. What Unions No Longer Do details the consequences of labor's decline, including poorer working conditions, less economic assimilation for immigrants, and wage stagnation among African-Americans. In short, unions are no longer instrumental in combating inequality in our economy and our politics, resulting in a sharp decline in the prospects of American workers and their families.
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1 The Collapse of Organized Labor in the United States
Why PublicSector Unionism Wont Rescue the Labor Movement
3 Wages and Inequality
Deunionization and Racial Inequality
Deunionization and Hispanic Economic Assimilation
7 The Ballot Box Deunionization and Political Participation
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AFL-CIO African American analyses Author’s compilations average Barack Obama benefits campaign century Chapter collective bargaining coverage rates CPS-March CPS-MORG Data and Methods decades Democratic demographic deunionization differences early earners economic election employers estimates example factors federal female Figure ﬁles firms fraction health insurance higher Hispanic immigrants impact industry Justice for Janitors Kleykamp labor movement labor unions labor-market levels male Methods Appendix models National nonimmigrant nonmembers nonunion workers occupations odds of unionization Odds ratios one’s organization rates organized labor percent percentage points political positional private-sector union private-sector workers public-sector unions public-sector workers race/ethnicity racial wage recent Republican respondents restricted to employed Rosenfeld Sample restricted SEIU similar stoppages strike Table take-up tion topcoded trends turnout union decline union effects union members union membership union wage premiums unionization rates United variables voters voting wage advantage wage inequality weekly wages women workforce