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Monday, September 05, 2011

"Unions Continue to Take a Beating in Post-Recession Climate"

News for Labor Day:

Unions continue to take a beating in post-recession climate, by Meg Sullivan, UCLA News: From July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2011, unionization rates ... tumbled to historic lows nationwide... At 11.8 percent, the proportion of American workers who belong to unions is the lowest it has been since current reporting procedures began in 1983 and probably before that as well, the researchers said.

"At no time since the Great Depression has the country experienced such a low level of union participation by its workers," Appelbaum said.

As with last year, losses in 2010–11 came primarily in the private sector, the researchers found. ... "The industries that were first hit by the recession were industries that were not highly unionized, such as real estate, residential construction and financial institutions," Appelbaum said. "As the recession continued, job losses spread to other industries, including those with higher unionization rates. Technically we're in a recovery now, but employment is still lagging, and most of the new jobs are not unionized." ...

The recession has also caught up with workers in non-residential construction, who are more likely to be unionized than their counterparts in residential construction. Immediately following the crash of 2008, employment in non-residential construction did not evaporate as quickly as it did in residential construction, thanks in part to federal economic stimulus dollars. But over the past year, membership in the unionized construction industry fell across the board. ...

"The stimulus package went into infrastructure. That, to some extent, was propping up non-residential construction, and that prop is pretty much spent now," Tilly said. "But the economy hasn't picked up enough yet for people to say, 'Let's build a new mall or a new office building.'" ...

As in the past, union membership continues to carry significant benefits, the researchers found. Unionized workers earned more per hour, on average, than their non-union counterparts in ... the U.S. ($4.40 more). With job growth anemic and inevitable hurdles to organizing at newly formed companies, the researchers are pessimistic that more workers will enjoy these benefits any time soon.

"The way the economy recovery is unfolding, I think next year's figures will be worse," Tilly said.

It didn't occur to me that stimulus spending would affect unionization rates -- yet another reason for the GOP to oppose this type of spending.

    Posted by on Monday, September 5, 2011 at 12:24 AM Permalink  Comments (27)


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