<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

A second explanation for the decline in the share of unionized workers looks at import competition. Starting in the 1960s, U.S. carmakers and steelmakers faced increasing competition from Japanese and European manufacturers. As sales of imported cars and steel rose, the number of jobs in U.S. auto manufacturing fell. This industry is heavily unionized. Not surprisingly, membership in the United Auto Workers, which was 975,000 in 1985, had fallen to roughly 390,000 by 2015. Import competition not only decreases the employment in sectors where unions were once strong, but also decreases the bargaining power of unions in those sectors. However, as we have seen, unions that organize public-sector workers, who are not threatened by import competition, have continued to see growth.

A third possible reason for the decline in the number of union workers is that citizens often call on their elected representatives to pass laws concerning work conditions, overtime, parental leave, regulation of pensions, and other issues. Unions offered strong political support for these laws aimed at protecting workers but, in an ironic twist, the passage of those laws then made many workers feel less need for unions.

These first three possible reasons for the decline of unions are all somewhat plausible, but they have a common problem. Most other developed economies have experienced similar economic and political trends, such as the shift from manufacturing to services, globalization, and increasing government social benefits and regulation of the workplace. Clearly there are cultural differences between countries as to their acceptance of unions in the workplace. The share of the population belonging to unions in other countries is very high compared with the share in the United States. [link] shows the proportion of workers in a number of the world’s high-income economies who belong to unions. The United States is near the bottom, along with France and Spain. The last column shows union coverage, defined as including those workers whose wages are determined by a union negotiation even if the workers do not officially belong to the union. In the United States, union membership is almost identical to union coverage. However, in many countries, the wages of many workers who do not officially belong to a union are still determined by collective bargaining between unions and firms.

(Source, CIA World Factbook, retrieved from www.cia.gov)
International comparisons of union membership and coverage in 2012
Country Union Density: Percentage of Workers Belonging to a Union Union Coverage: Percentage of Workers Whose Wages Are Determined by Union Bargaining
Austria 37% 99%
France 9% 95%
Germany 26% 63%
Japan 22% 23%
Netherlands 25% 82%
Spain 11.3% 81%
Sweden 82% 92%
United Kingdom 29% 35%
United States 11.1% 12.5%

These international differences in union membership suggest a fourth reason for the decline of union membership in the United States: perhaps U.S. laws are less friendly to the formation of unions than such laws in other countries. The close connection between union membership and a friendly legal environment is apparent in the history of U.S. unions. The great rise in union membership in the 1930s followed the passage of the National Labor-Management Relations Act of 1935, which specified that workers had a right to organize unions and that management had to give them a fair chance to do so. The U.S. government strongly encouraged the formation of unions during the early 1940s in the belief that unions would help to coordinate the all-out production efforts needed during World War II. However, after World War II came the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, which gave states the power to allow workers to opt out of the union in their workplace if they so desired. This law made the legal climate less encouraging to those seeking to form unions, and union membership levels soon started declining.

The procedures for forming a union differ substantially from country to country. For example, the procedures in the United States and those in Canada are strikingly different. When a group of workers wish to form a union in the United States, they announce this fact and an election date is set when the employees at a firm will vote in a secret ballot on whether to form a union. Supporters of the union lobby for a “yes” vote, and the management of the firm lobbies for a “no” vote—often even hiring outside consultants for assistance in swaying workers to vote “no.” In Canada, by contrast, a union is formed when a sufficient proportion of workers (usually about 60%) sign an official card saying that they want a union. There is no separate “election date.” The management of Canadian firms is limited by law in its ability to lobby against the union. In addition, though it is illegal to discriminate and fire workers based on their union activity in the United States, the penalties are slight, making this a not so costly way of deterring union activity. In short, forming unions is easier in Canada—and in many other countries—than in the United States.

In summary, union membership in the United States is lower than in many other high-income countries, a difference that may be due to different legal environments and cultural attitudes toward unions.

Visit this website to read about recent protests regarding minimum wage for fast food employees.

Key concepts and summary

A labor union is an organization of workers that negotiates as a group with employers over compensation and work conditions. Union workers in the United States are paid more on average than other workers with comparable education and experience. Thus, either union workers must be more productive to match this higher pay or the higher pay will lead employers to find ways of hiring fewer union workers than they otherwise would. American union membership has been falling for decades. Some possible reasons include the shift of jobs to service industries; greater competition from globalization; the passage of worker-friendly legislation; and U.S. laws that are less favorable to organizing unions.

References

AFL-CIO. “Training and Apprenticeships.” http://www.aflcio.org/Learn-About-Unions/Training-and-Apprenticeships.

Central Intelligence Agency. “The World Factbook.” https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html.

Clark, John Bates. Essentials of Economic Theory: As Applied to Modern Problems of Industry and Public Policy . New York: A. M. Kelley, 1907, 501.

United Auto Workers (UAW). “About: Who We Are.” http://www.uaw.org/page/who-we-are.

United States Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Economic News Release: Union Members Summary.” Last modified January 23, 2013. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/union2.nr0.htm.

United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2015. “Economic News; Union Members Summary.” Accessed April 13, 2015. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/union2.nr0.htm.

Questions & Answers

what is backward bend
Florence Reply
It's a curve that reverses direction
Ajibade
Good evening friends
Kojo
Evening
Ajibade
evening
Emmanuel
hi
Lawrence
Any Nigerian lady to meet here Well on eco ground
Suleiman
it can can be described as when the demand is insufficient
Amaan Reply
high Dublin divino through Higginbotham
Shubham Reply
How does exchange rate affect the demand and supply?
austine
You mean demand and supply of currency ?
Jahangir
Hello
Hann
Hi
Jahangir
Am debby
Hann
am jahangir
Jahangir
how are you
Ogunsola
I am All fine Wbu ?
Jahangir
doing great
Ogunsola
Hw r u all
Mudassar
Am gud
Hann
Gd
Mudassar
Ogunsola
are you help for your country of economy leavel
Mutha
hi
Hammed
Hello
Assan
hi
Pranshi
Hello
Kamal
hi
Pranshi
hi
Abbas
hi
Abdirazak
ki sah botine
Neyshawn
hi
Nasir
Hello Economist
Nasir
hello
Victor
Hie... may anyone give me examples of countries that successfully implemented import substitution industrialisation.
Thabo
Nigeria
Junior
hey I'm emma from Uganda
niwagaba
Hello
Abraham
What is the difference between Demand and Quantity Demanded?
Weedh
Demand refers to how much a product is desired by buyer mean while quantity demanded refers to the amount of product a buyer is willing to buy at a certain price.
Junior
Good evening
Ajibade
Evening
Junior
evening
Ogunsola
someone wat is d textbook to read for banking and finance course
ayomide
Evening
Anjorin
Hw r u doing
Faku
yh
Benj
I'm good, u?
Anjorin
demand is the various quantity of goods or services a consumer is Willing and able to buy at a particular price over s given period of time while quantity demanded is the amount of goods or services being paid for
Florence
Good
Awudu
1.it allows producers to learn and invent 2.it allows agent to take advantage of economic scale 3.it allow agents to focus in areas of
oyebola Reply
can someone explain the motive of money to me?
Alemogho Reply
ask the question you don't know
ojo
opportunity cost
Sylvo
the motive of money is to pay for goods or services. it's also for transaction purposes bet it ordinary or unforseen
Silke
Money helps to reduce our scarcity problems. It can satisfy your wants to an extent
Okwori
How dose economics use science methods to explains it problems
Edmond Reply
according to Jhon Robinson the main problem of economics is what to produce? how to produce? whom to produce? economics tries to solve these problem scientifically by using its theories which are scientific in nature,basically micro and macro theories which just explain what the problem is...
Lavkesh
and now the solving techinique is also changed. only theories or its matematical +statistical version is not sufficient so the economist had developed Econometrics which includes economic theory+mathematical economics+statistics, for solving economic problem. This method treats economics as a pure
Lavkesh
..pure science so this technique is based on pure scientific methods.
Lavkesh
Economics is the scientific study of human behavior so there for science is used to solve economics problems using economics theories
Florence
economic is not higly subject of taminadu ...
Mutha
measurement of elasticity of demand
John Reply
Price elasticity of demand= Percentage change in quantity demanded/ Percentage change in price
Jale
For example, suppose that a 10 percent increase in the price of an ice-cream cone causes the amount of ice cream you buy to fall by 20 percent. We calculate your elasticity of demand as
Jale
Price elasticity of demand =20 percent /10 percent = 2
Jale
In this example, the elasticity is 2, reflecting that the change in the quantity demanded is proportionately twice as large as the change in the price.
Jale
what is economic
Samuel Reply
economics is a social science that studies the relationship of human behavior between ends and scare...
Lawrence
Why is economics as a subject is so important to human being?
austine
it's significant in study of managing available resources to satisfy human needs and wants
mohamed
economics is the science of wealth
Aamir
it is also said that it is the science of scarcity
Aamir
why study economic
Neo
Economic helps to meet our needs and wants nd to make choices.
Abraham
careers or jobs associated with economics
Neo
Economics is more than choices, scarcity, resources etc. It has a lot to do with psychology, social psychology. Understand motivation for consumer decisons.
TOM
okey
Neo
I what to study economic understand education what subject will I take in my jamb
DIRIOHA
English.mathematics.economics and one other social science subject
Ogunsola
economic is life start to end
Mutha
Plz help in lectures job for economics
Mudassar
acc to robbin . "Economics is a science that studies human behaviour as a relationship between scarce means and ends which have alternative uses"
Jahangir
Economics is important to man "human wants are insatiable
Hann
How does commercial banks create credit
Penda Reply
what is equilibrium price?
Stella Reply
happen when demand curve and supply curve meet
Enockz
intersection point of demand and supply curve
Sarjeel
the equilibrium price is that price at which the quantity demanded is equal to the quantity supplied... i.e the price at which what people want to buy is equal to what the sellers want to sell.
Che
what is difference between demand and quantity demand
Sarjeel
the price which is prevailing in the market ,it is the price at which the consumer is getting maximum satisfaction and the producer is getting maximum profit.
Rather
at equilibrium price demand for commodity is equal to supply of commodity..
Rather
dear sareel, quantity demand means the quantity of commodity which is demanded at a particular price e,g , your demand is for 4 oranges when price of orange is 5,, on the other hand demand means the whole quantity price relationship, quantity demand is shown on a particular point on demand curve,
Rather
sarjeel sbb, reply please...
Rather
what is elasticity of demand
Evans
what is Economics?
Ahmed
Economics can be defined as a social sciences that study human behavior as a relationship between end and scarce mean which have alternative use
Azeez
What is taxation
Azeez
economics is the study of scarcity
Suleiman
dear Suleiman how?
Enockz
economics is a subject matter that studies different economic activities as directed towards maximization of income at level of individual and maximization of social welfare at the level of society as a whole
Rather
economics studies us how to allocate scarce resources to full fill the maximum human wants as the resources have alternative uses..and r very scare to fullfill the human wants as the wants of humans are unlimited
Rather
demand is what a buyer is able and willing to buy at a specific price where by quantity demanded is amount of demand the buyer is able and willing to buy at a specific price.
daudi
thanks che..
Stella
how does commercial banks create credit
Penda
write models of Aggregate Supply?
abdi Reply
models of aggregate supply?
abdi
Then what's the law of elasticity?
austine
wat happen if money circulation failed to be controlled in any county?
Enockz Reply
the amount of money in circulation increases and cause aggregate demand to rise. Thus, hyperinflation.
Che
what's heteroscandacity
Crowther
price mechanism refers to the manner which price of goods and services affect the demand and supply of goods and services
Abaide
heteroscandacity: Is the circumstance where there is unequal variances across the observations.
Enockz
what is price mechanisms?
Che Reply
price mechanism refers to the manner which price of goods and services affect the demand and supply of goods and services
Abaide
what is demand
kabeer Reply
desire and ability to pay for a commodity is called demand.
Rather
i desire to become Prime Minister of India , is it demand ?please answer---
Rather
demand refers to the quantity demanded of a commodity that consumers are willing and able to buy at a particular price over a given period of time
Abigail
or the willingness power of a commoditythat is backed up by the ability to pay
Abigail
u r 100% right..
Rather
is ability to purchase a perticular goods at any price at a given time.
Neema
tanz Rather
Abigail
ur desire to become a prime minister of lndia is nt demand because u have nt made any efforts or willingness, it is called mere wish or lets say mere desire
Abigail
Thank you so much dear Abigail Mante for giving answer to my question..
Rather
U are welcome
Abigail
it's ok,dear..
Rather
The term ceteris paribus implies that
Oyelekan
Demand is the quantity demanded of a commodity at which a consumer is willing and able to purchase at various prices over a given period of time.
Suleman
ceteris parbus explains the law of demand,which states that at a higher price quantity demanded of a commodity is low and at a lower price quantity demanded of a commodity is high all other things being equal.
Abigail
U know right girl
Suleman
kk
Abigail
ceteris paribus is an economics terms used in situations where we considered other factors to remain unchanged
Ndeh
Thanks for the answer
Oyelekan
please how does disposable income affect demand?
Che
hell. somebody must tell me what is the meaning if cetrasparibus
Darling
plz. guys
Darling
the quantity of a commodity that a consumer ready willing and able to purchase at a particular price and in a particular period of time is known as demand
The
ceterusparibus means constant i,e,(other things do not change or other things remains constant)
Rather
wht
Bilal
right answer yawer saab
Sarjeel
things like what@Rather
Oyelekan
bilal sheikh why u has been written what
Sarjeel
e,g demand is determined by various factors like price of commodity, uses of good, expected changes in near future, nature of commodity , but when we learn price elasticity of demand , we keep other determinants of demand constant(i,e , we do not expect any change in price of good in near future,etc
Rather
i think u understand the term ceterus paribus..
Rather
bcz I can not understand
Bilal
what
Sarjeel
ok bro
Bilal
wht is other factors
Bilal
income of consumer, taste,
Sarjeel
Gold. Medlist in economics and. Lecturer of economics
HAZRAT
hello..what's are the factors affecting cross elasticity of demand.? at least five factors
Elzevery
The time it takes to get a product to market. That time limit has a name call "Just in Time."
William
thanks guys
kabeer
hey guys what is inelastic demand
Abaide
when there is no change in quantity demanded due to change in price then elasticity of demand is inelastic
Rather
Hi sucker how are you...
HAZRAT
thanks for the answer
Abaide
Any question about economics
HAZRAT
yes. what is the main cause of Heteroscedasticity
Abaide
hi
Habib
waht is elasticity of demand
Sarparah
elasticity of demand means change in quantity demanded divided by change in any of its determinent ,e,g , price ed= % change in quantity demanded/ % change in price.
Rather
elasticity of demand is the degree of responsiveness of quantity demanded of a commodity to a change in price of the commodity in question ,price of other related commodity n the consumers income
Abigail
yes
Kumako
ok
Abigail
guys what is monopoly
kabeer
A single seller in the market.
Tahir
what are the importance of economics
Eric Reply
what causes the demand curve to shift.
Stephen
other factors except price.it include test of a consumer fashen presence of substitute advatisment
Neema
factors other than price
Rather
Its helps to determine the price
Mavis

Get the best Principles of economics course in your pocket!





Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Principles of economics' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask