The Changing Face of U.S. Labor, 1983-2008

Source: John Schmitt, Kris Warner, WorkingUSA, Vol. 13 no. 2, June 2010
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From the abstract:
We review annual, nationally representative data from the Current Population Survey for the years 1983 (the earliest year for which comparable data are available) to 2008 on union members and workers covered by union contracts. Over the period, the composition of the unionized workforce changed dramatically. In 1983, more than half of all union workers were white men, few union workers had a college degree, and almost one-third were in manufacturing. By 2008, over 45 percent of unionized workers were women and, if at current growth rates, women will be a majority of union workers before 2020. Over one-third of union workers in 2008 had a four-year college degree or more–a higher percentage than for the workforce as a whole. And, in 2008, only about one-in-ten union workers was in manufacturing, with almost half in the public sector. Latinos and Asia-Pacific Americans, two groups that include substantial numbers of immigrants, are the fastest growing ethnic groups in the labor movement, though both are less represented in organized labor than they are in the overall workforce.

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