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Unintended Consequence of Austerity America - Union Rep Share Grew in Private Sector

Reacting to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on union membership, EPI President Lawrence Mishel said:
New data for 2013 on the number and share of workers with union coverage show some interesting trends. Private sector union coverage increased but was offset by an erosion in the public sector, leaving overall union coverage essentially unchanged (a decline of less than 0.1 percent, so rounding up becomes a 0.1 percent decline).  The increase in private sector collective bargaining coverage in 2013 is noteworthy because it happened in 2007 and 2008 but otherwise hasn’t happened since 1979. This was driven by increased union employment in manufacturing and construction, where more than thirty-five percent of net new jobs were covered by collective bargaining agreements. Union coverage has increased in some states that may be unexpected. For instance, private sector union coverage increased in each of the last two years in Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee. Improvements in the private sector have been offset, however, by erosion in the public sector. Between 2012 and 2013 union coverage in the public sector fell from 39.6 to 38.7 percent. The starkest change was in Wisconsin, where union coverage in the public sector fell from 53.4 percent in 2011 to just 37.6 percent in 2013. This suggests that the erosion of public sector union coverage reflects the new anti-collective bargaining policies implemented in several states.
See here.

***It is important to note that much of the growth is due to the offset of job loss in the public sector as a result of austerity along with, as mentioned above, the implementation of anti-collective bargaining policies...so-called "right to work" laws...***

Comments

  1. The key issue in Wisconsin appeared to be Gov. Walker's rejection of collective bargaining, this was not the most important issue. The key issue was that the state would no longer collect Union dues. If the Unions had to collect their own dues, some workers might decide to invest their money otherwise and not pay the union. The Union dues typically pay for donations to Democratic candidates and the Union bureaucracy. The reasoning from Walker's view is that if the public workers give less to their union, the union will not be able to protect their jobs, the administration will be able to hate the 'worker' more effectively and drive some of them out. This will reduce pension expenditures. If the citizenry begin to believe that the public sector workers are ineffective then the Republicans can outsource the public sector jobs to their own corporations. The Republicans want a State-Corporate funnel of public monies whereas the Democratics want a State-governed public sector, not a privatized government.

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