Category Archives: Cataloged

The State of the Unions 2017: A Profile of Unionization in Wisconsin and in America

Source: Jill Manzo, Monica Bielski Boris, Frank Manzo IV, Robert Bruno, Midwest Economic Policy Institute, September 4, 2017

From the summary:
A new study conducted by the Midwest Economic Policy Institute, the School for Workers at the University of Wisconsin–Extension, and the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, evaluates the impact that labor union membership has on a worker’s hourly wage in Wisconsin and in the United States. A key finding in the report, The State of the Unions 2017: A Profile of Unionization in Wisconsin and in the United States, indicates that unionization benefits low-income and middle-class workers most in Wisconsin, helping to foster a strong middle class and reduce income inequality.

Since 2007, unionization has declined in Wisconsin and in the United States. There are about 157,000 fewer union members in Wisconsin today than there were in 2007, accounting for 14.3 percent of the 1.1 million-member drop in union workers across the nation over that time. There are 155 fewer labor unions and 2,247 fewer individuals working for labor unions in Wisconsin today than there were in 2006. This is in part due to Wisconsin’s Governor Walker’s fight against collective bargaining….

As of 2016, the overall union membership rate is 8.1 percent in Wisconsin:
• Men are more likely to be unionized (10.5 percent) than women (5.7 percent);
• Veterans are among the most unionized socioeconomic groups in Wisconsin (8.4 percent);
• By educational attainment, the most unionized workers in Wisconsin hold Master’s degrees (15.2 percent) and associate’s degrees (10.9 percent);
• Public sector unionization (22.7 percent) is four times as high in Wisconsin as private sector unionization (5.5 percent)…..

The State of the Unions 2017: A Profile of Unionization in Minnesota and in America

Source: Jill Manzo, Monica Bielski Boris, Frank Manzo IV, Robert Bruno, Midwest Economic Policy Institute, September 4, 2017

From the summary:

The report finds that labor unions increase individual incomes by lifting hourly wages. On average, unions raise worker wages by 8.0 percent in the state. The wage effect, however, is even larger for low-income workers.

• The union wage premium is higher for the median income worker (10.7 percent) than the richest 10 percent of workers (7.2 percent).
• The union wage premium is particularly high for middle-class occupations, such as construction and extraction careers (30.6 percent), transportation and material moving jobs (25.2 percent), and service positions (12.3 percent).
• Unions help sustain a strong middle class and reduce income inequality.

Unions also help to close racial and gender income gaps in the state.

• Unions increase the wages of white workers by 7.4 percent but boost the hourly earnings of non-white workers by 13.9 percent.
• The personal benefit to being a union member is 7.7 percent for men and 8.7 percent for women.
• Unions are one of the most effective anti-poverty institutions in Minnesota.

Unfortunately, unionization has declined in Minnesota and in America since 2007.

• There are approximately 36,000 fewer union members in Minnesota today than there were in 2007.
• The decline in union membership has occurred in both the public sector and the private sector.
• The total number of labor unions and similar labor organizations declined from 324 to 314 worker establishments from 2006 to 2015.

As of 2016, the overall union membership rate is 14.2 percent in Minnesota:

• The number of union members has increased from 351,000 in 2012 to about 364,000 in 2016.
• Workers 45 to 54 years of age are the most unionized age cohort, with a union membership rate of 17.3 percent.
• Approximately 15.9 percent of workers who reside in the city center are unionized, 15.4 percent of workers who reside in rural areas are unionized, and 12.8 percent of workers who reside in the suburbs are unionized.
• By educational attainment, the most unionized workers in Minnesota hold Master’s degrees (29.9 percent) and associate’s degrees (17.3 percent).

Almost one half of all public sector workers are unionized in Minnesota. In comparison, just one-in-12 (8.3 percent) Minnesotans who work in the private sector are union members.

The State of the Unions in 2016

Source: Midwest Economic Policy Institute, 2016

Reports include:
The State of the Unions 2016: A Profile of Unionization in Minneapolis, in Minnesota, and in America
Source: Frank Manzo IV, Robert Bruno, Jill Manzo, Monica Bielski Boris, Midwest Economic Policy Institute, September 2, 2016
From the press release:
A new study released today finds that organized labor still plays a considerable role in Minnesota’s economy, despite a decline of approximately 34,000 union members over the past decade. ….
As of 2015, the overall union membership rate is 14.2 percent in Minnesota:
– The number of union members has increased by about 11,000 since 2012.
– White, non-Latino workers are more likely to be unionized (15.0 percent) than non-white workers (9.8 percent) in the state.
– Veterans are among the most unionized socioeconomic groups in Minnesota (21.2 percent).
– By educational attainment, the most unionized workers in Minnesota hold Master’s degrees (31.0 percent)…..

The State of the Unions 2016: A Profile of Unionization in Milwaukee, in Wisconsin, and in the United States
Source: Frank Manzo IV, Don Taylor, Michael Childers, Robert Bruno, Jill Manzo, Midwest Economic Policy Institute, July 25, 2016
From the press release:
A new study released today finds that organized labor still plays a role in Wisconsin’s economy, despite a decline of approximately 136,000 union members over the past decade. …. Declining union membership in Wisconsin has resulted from a number of factors, including the effects of Act 10 on the public sector and the continued loss of manufacturing jobs. Since 2006, Wisconsin’s union membership rate has declined by 6.6 percentage points, from 14.9% to 8.3%. In a one year period, from 2014 to 2015, union membership dropped 3.3 percentage points. As a result, there are over 150 fewer labor unions and similar worker organizations in Wisconsin than there were ten years ago. ….

The State of the Unions 2016: A Profile of Unionization in Iowa and America
Source: Frank Manzo IV, Robert Bruno, Jill Manzo, Midwest Economic Policy Institute, May 31, 2016
From the press release:
A new study released today finds that organized labor still plays a role in Iowa’s economy, despite a decline of approximately 23,500 union members over the past decade. …. Since 2006, Iowa’s union membership rate has declined by 1.7 percentage points, from 11.3% to 9.6%. As a result, there are 36 fewer labor unions and similar worker organizations in Iowa than there were ten years ago. Over 350 employees working for labor unions have lost their jobs over the decade. ….

The State of the Unions 2016: A Profile of Unionization in Indianapolis, in Indiana, and in America
Source: Frank Manzo IV, Robert Bruno, Jill Manzo, Midwest Economic Policy Institute, May 23, 2016
From the press release:
A new study released today finds that organized labor still plays a considerable role in Indiana’s economy, despite a decline of approximately 52,000 union members over the past decade. …. Since 2006, Indiana’s union membership rate has declined by 2.0 percentage points, from 12.0% to 10.0%. As a result, there are nearly 126 fewer labor unions and similar worker organizations in Indiana than there were ten years ago. ….

The State of the Unions 2016: A Profile of Unionization in Chicago, in Illinois, and in America
Source: Frank Manzo IV, Robert Bruno, Virginia Parks, Midwest Economic Policy Institute, May 16, 2016
From the press release:
A new study released today finds that labor unions play a vital role in Illinois’ communities and economy, despite a decline of approximately 84,000 union members over the past decade. …. Since 2006, Illinois’ union membership rate has declined by 1.2 percentage points, from 16.4% to 15.2%. As a result, there are nearly 100 fewer labor unions and similar worker organizations in Illinois than there were ten years ago. ….

Related:
From ’15 to $15: the state of the unions in California and its key cities in 2015
Source: Patrick Adler, Chris Tilly, Trevor Thomas, University of California – Los Angeles, Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, September 2015
IRLE’s State of The Union Series explores changes in union membership and composition from year to year.
Published annually on Labor Day, in it we present union activity calculations for California, its largest two urban areas and the nation as a whole. Our report is in part a reference, devoted to information on:
• The unionization rate in Greater Los Angeles, Greater San Francisco, California and the United States
• How unionization differs by age, ethnicity, educational attainment and immigration status.
• How benefits to unionization vary across our areas of interest
• How union membership, composition and compensation is changing….

Twin Threats: How Disappearing Public Pensions Hurt Black Workers

Source: Robert Hiltonsmith, Dēmos, 2016

From the introduction:
….As important as public employment is to the black middle class, the pensions provided by public employment are perhaps even more crucial to the retirement security of black workers. This brief uses data from the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement to examine the importance of public pensions to black retirement security, and why the twin threats to public pensions—cuts to state pension benefits and the decline in public employment over the past two decades—particularly threaten the retirement security of African American workers. We find that public pensions are vital to ensuring a decent standard of living for black retirees: the poverty rate among black retirees without public pensions is nearly 20 percent higher than the poverty rate among black retirees with public pensions—almost double the difference in poverty rates between all retirees with and without public pensions. These figures show that if the twin threats to public pensions continue, African American retirees may lose much of the retirement security they’ve gained over the past half-century…..

How Defunding Public Sector Unions Will Diminish Our Democracy: The High Stakes of Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association

Source: Richard D. Kahlenberg, The Century Foundation, Issue Brief, January 7, 2016

From the summary:
On January 11, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. The case pits the right of public employees to band together and form effective unions to pursue the common interests of workers against the free speech rights of dissenting public employees to abstain from funding collective bargaining efforts with which they disagree.1 A decision by the Court against the teachers association could not only significantly weaken public sector unions, but also endanger the nation’s core democratic values. …. The report proceeds in four parts. Part I analyzes the claims in Friedrichs under the current framework of balancing envisioned by the Supreme Court, and concludes that fair share fees are justified. Part II broadens the discussion to consider the state’s powerful interest in promoting institutions that strengthen American democracy. Part III considers an objection raised by supporters of Friedrichs: that public sector unions will do just fine if they lose the Friedrichs case. Part IV concludes…..

Public Sector Unions Promote Economic Security and Equality for Women

Source: Andrea Johnson, Katherine Gallagher Robbins, National Women’s Law Center, November 2015

From the blog post:
At a time when women make up two-thirds of the low-wage workforce and the gender wage gap refuses to die, public sector unions are a beacon of hope for working women. As our new analysis, “Public Sector Unions Promote Economic Security and Equality for Women,” reveals, public sector unions provide much-needed economic security and equality for working women.

Women make up a majority of the public sector workforce, which includes nurses, first responders, teachers, and many other employees whose work is crucial to the health, safety, and prosperity of our communities. Women also make up a majority of union-represented public sector workers. We show that these union-represented women have higher wages and increased participation in employer-based health insurance plans, compared to their non-union-represented counterparts. These women also experience greater equality in wages and health benefits with their male counterparts.
Related:
Abstract

On Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association

Source: Jeffrey Keefe, Economic Policy Institute, EPI Briefing Paper #411, November 2, 2015

From the summary:
The inextricable links between exclusive representation, agency fees, and the duty of fair representation. … The U.S. Supreme Court in its current session will consider Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a case that may require all states to enforce public-sector open-shop laws. Specifically a question before the court is whether to overrule Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, 431 U.S. 209 (1977) and find public-sector agency-shop clauses unconstitutional. Agency-shop clauses allow unions to collect agency fees (also called fair-share fees) from employees who are not union members but whom the union is legally required to represent. The fees are calculated as a percent of union dues. The Court in Abood upheld the constitutionality of agency-shop clauses, provided that the agency service charges are used to finance collective-bargaining, contract-administration, and grievance processes, but not for political or ideological purposes. Since World War II, 25 states have enacted so-called right-to-work (RTW) laws prohibiting the enforcement of agency-shop provisions in the private sector, and then they extended these laws to their public-sector employees. These laws create “open shops,” where all workers, union and nonunion alike, have the right to union representation but are not required to pay the union fees for that representation. If the Supreme Court overturns Abood and eliminates agency fees, it would essentially make all states right-to-work states (also known as “no-fair-share” states) in the public sector.

This briefing paper responds to a claim by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, in its amicus curiae brief, that there is not an inextricable link between exclusive representation and the agency fees that allow public-sector unions to fulfill their duty of fair representation for all bargaining unit members. “Unions are in fact able to fulfill the duty of fair representation despite whatever incentive workers might have to ‘free ride’ on the union when they do not face any agency fees,” the brief states (Mackinac Center 2015)…. Simply put, this briefing paper asks whether agency clauses, which eliminate free-riders, are needed so that unions can carry out their obligations to serve all members of a bargaining unit. It finds that agency clauses are needed because free-riding reduces resources and thus undermines the ability of a union to serve all workers in the bargaining unit. Having fewer resources, for example, likely makes it harder for the union to pay the costs of an arbitration, which could include the costs of investigation, lawyers’ fees, the arbitrator’s fee, and staff time…..

Related:
Press Release

The Growth Mirage: State Tax Cuts Do Not Automatically Lead to Economic Growth

Source: William G. Gale, Aaron Krupkin, Kim Rueben, Tax Policy Center, September 8, 2015

From the abstract:
Cuts in top state income taxes are intended to raise economic growth, but could instead force punishing spending cuts, as revenues fall and states confront borrowing constraints. Previous work shows no clear impact of state taxes on growth. In new research, we build on a widely cited study that identifies a robust negative relationship between tax rates and state growth. We find that the negative effects disappear when we extend the sample beyond 2000 and that the relationship is unstable over time and across taxes. Likewise, examination of recent state tax cuts reveals little evidence of tax cuts driving growth.

Widening the Scope of Worker Organizing: Legal Reforms to Facilitate Multi-Employer Organizing, Bargaining, and Striking

Source: Roosevelt Institute, October 7, 2015

From the summary:
For legal, social, and economic reasons, it is difficult for worker organizations to organize, bargain, and strike across entire contractual supply-chains, networks, industries, occupations, or regions.

This paper proposes four large-scale reforms to diminish these difficulties and actively facilitate organizing and striking across multiple employers:

First, an entity should be deemed an “indirect” employer of multiple “direct” employers’ workforces if it has “sufficient bargaining power” to determine the standards of all the employees in question, even if the entity is not currently exercising such power. By organizing and bargaining with that single entity, a worker organization would effectively organize and bargain with what is currently deemed a multi- employer association.

Second, the law should authorize worker organizations to unilaterally choose multi-employer units. And, if a government agency is called upon to select among differing units chosen by different worker organizations, the agency should define units based on the criterion of “maximum potential worker empowerment.”

Third, legal reform should authorize bargaining units that are defined not only by employer boundaries but also by such categories as geographic region, production-and-distribution network, occupation, or industry.

Fourth, bargaining rights or the substantive terms of collective agreements should extend across multiple employers even if only a minority of unit workers have affirmatively shown their support for the organization.

Each of these reforms would require large-scale legislative transformation and zealous enforcement that are only imaginable in the event of deep progressive renewal in our politics. The four reforms could be enacted separately but would, if concurrently implemented, be mutually reinforcing.

Metropolitan Coalitions: Creating Opportunities for Worker Organizing

Source: Ben Beach and Kathleen Mulligan-Hansel, Roosevelt Institute, October 7, 2015

From the summary:
Today, the ever-more-attenuated relationship between workers and companies with economic power over their jobs creates obstacles for those who wish to expand opportunities for worker organizing, especially among low-wage workers. The ever more distant nature of the relationship between unions and communities makes those obstacles harder to surmount.

Changing this landscape will require new strategies. Major cities are the place to start, as they are where capital wants to be, where favorable politics and constituencies are concentrated, and where government has the power to shape regional economies for the better. In the last several years, community-labor coalitions working in cities have demonstrated what is possible. Working in permanent coalition, they are winning campaigns that push cities to transform local sectors of the economy, raising standards for all workers and creating better conditions for organizing. Their campaigns have focused on, among other things, community benefits at major development projects, real construction careers for excluded communities, and a waste and recycling sector that respects workers, the environment, and local communities. Those interested in expanding opportunities for worker organizing should invest in such strategies.