Category Archives: Labor Unions

Giving Labor the Business? Changes in Business and Labor Reporting from 1980 to 2000

Source: David J. Park and Larry M. Wright, Labor Studies Journal, Vol. 32 no. 1, March 2007
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This study empirically examines the extent to which business journalism has taken over labor reporting between 1980 and 2000. The authors conduct a content analysis of The New York Times , The Washington Post, and Associated Press during this time frame. Our results note a widening gap between labor and business coverage dramatically in favor of business-oriented journalism. Business journalists now cover labor issues. Qualitative and quantitative changes in coverage are discussed, as well as the implications from these trends. The authors suggest that labor groups invest in more media and/or public relations to better convey their messages.

Union Members in 2006

Source: United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 25, 2007

In 2006, 12.0 percent of employed wage and salary workers were union members, down from 12.5 percent a year earlier, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The number of persons belonging to a union fell by 326,000 in 2006 to 15.4 million. The union membership rate has steadily declined from 20.1 percent in 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available.
Some highlights from the 2006 data are:
• Workers in the public sector had a union membership rate nearly five times that of private sector employees.
• Education, training, and library occupations had the highest unionization rate among all occupations, at 37 percent.
• The unionization rate was higher for men than for women.
• Black workers were more likely to be union members than were white, Asian, or Hispanic workers.

Liar, Liar: The New Propaganda War Against Unions

Source: Esther Kaplan, New Labor Forum, Vol. 16 no. 1, Winter 2007

Who exactly is behind the Center [for Union Facts] its founder Richard Berman won’t say, except to note that he’s already raised $2.5 million from a variety of companies, trade organizations, and individuals. But the Chamber of Commerce, the leading pro-corporate lobby group, has its fingerprints all over the project, The AFL-CIO reports that Berman addressed a conference of the state Chambers of Commerce in January, where, according to one attendee, participants pledged millions of dollars in support. And Randel Johnson, a vice-president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, served as an advisor in creating the Center. (Sarah Longwell, spokesperson for the Center for Union Facts, did not return repeated phone calls requesting further information.)

Do Truly Comparable Public and Private Sector Workers Show and Compensation Differential?

Source: Josefa Ramoni-Perazzi and Don Bellante, Journal of Labor Studies, Vol. 28 no. 1, Winter 2007

Using data from the Health and Retirement Study, we apply propensity score matching methods to examine evidence on the rent paid to public sector workers in the United States. Traditionally, wage differentials are computed assuming that workers from both public and private sectors are comparable, without actually controlling for the comparability of the units. Using this method, we are able to control for selection bias and, at the same time, select a subsample of comparable workers in terms of their conditional probability of choosing to work in the public sector on which to estimate separate wage equations.

The State of the Unions in the United States

Source: Jack Fiorito, Journal of Labor Studies, Vol. 28 no. 1, Winter 2007

Increased global competition and domestic deregulation, among other economic factors, combined to provide important external forces for change in bargaining and unions. The year 1980 also marked the beginning of a conservative turn in attitudes and national government starting with Regan’s election and followed by two Bush regimes sandwiching the Clinton administration. With the exception of the Clinton era, unions faced a more hostile central government than at any time since the nineteenth century.

40,000 New Union Members in Michigan

Source: Christine Moroski, Solidarity, January-February 2007

But even the strongest of passions, Hunter has discovered, can’t overcome dismal economics. It’s impossible to provide the quality of care that children deserve, she said, when the state of Michigan pays her just $1.80 per hour per child – a payment that has not been raised in 10 years. That’s why she recently became a member of Child Care Providers Together Michigan (CCPTM), a joint effort of the UAW and AFSCME.
Hunter and her co-workers, who are spread out in communities across the state, scored a major victory in November when the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) certified a majority of them had voted for union representation. The new bargaining unit will include some 40,000 home-based child care providers.

The Psychological Contract and the Union Contract: A Paradigm Shift in Public Sector Employee Relations

Source: Thomas J. Calo, Public Personnel Management, Winter 2006, Volume 35, no. 4

This article examines the changing nature of employee and labor relations in the United States. A significant shift has occurred in the employee relations environment between the public and private sectors. As union representation in the private sector workforce has steeply declined, there had been a sharp and steady increase in third party representation in the public sector workforce. The reasons for these changes are explored.

The article goes beyond the issue of labor relations to the broader issue of positive employee relations in the workplace. Exploring employee relations from a behavioral science perspective, the article describes and discusses the psychological contract as an organizing framework for understanding and achieving positive employee relations in the workplace. The article also draws upon the author’s professional human resource experiences in the public and private sectors.