Source: Monica Bieski Boris and Randall G. Wright, WorkingUSA: The Journal of Labor and Society, Vol. 10 no. 1, March 2007
It would not be surprising if in a state like North Carolina, whose union density is less than 3 percent and whose labor budgets are small and tight, the state federation concentrated on a traditional labor agenda of only servicing the remaining union members in an effort to merely survive. All of the main ingredients of building effective labor power—deepening relationships with community partners, developing a progressive agenda, electing and holding accountable political champions, leadership development, and support for organizing—require significant resources. Yet, because the resource base is small, the state federation has become the natural base from which to grow such strategies. By pooling resources to hire talented staff and by fostering deep relationships among community players with key resources, the North Carolina AFL–CIO is able to have an impact far greater than its paper strength. Although there is a paucity of literature on central labor councils, recent research points to the model as an important element of building a strong labor movement (Ness and Elmer 2001; Ruffini 2002; Richter 2003; Rogers and Streeck 1995).
Source: Tom Karson, WorkingUSA: The Journal of Labor and Society, Vol. 10 no. 1, March 2007
For over a decade the Atlanta-North Georgia Labor Council has had a reputation as an activist council engaged in innovative coalition building. Looking to build on this work and learning from the power-building experiences in California and elsewhere, the Council founded the nonprofit Georgia Stand-Up in 2005. The new organization immediately leaped into coalition work around Atlanta’s massive new economic development initiative—the BeltLine Project. This article looks at how local leadership was able to combine seeds laid by prior work with national support to produce a dynamic example of the new second generation of regional power building.
Source: Bruce Colburn, Scott Reynolds, David Reynolds, WorkingUSA: The Journal of Labor and Society, Vol. 10 no. 1, March 2007
New York was the first state to embark on the New Alliance process, originally approved by the American Federation of Labor–Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL–CIO) Convention in 1999 and reaffirmed in 2005. Since New York acted, New Alliance processes have been initiated in nine other states—Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. Ohio was the most recent state to act. In April 2006, some 600 delegates approved a reorganization plan that consolidated the state’s thirty-six central labor councils into twenty-two councils working under five area labor federations, each with full-time staff….
…New Alliance seeks to take state and regional labor structures built for a prior era and reorganize them to stimulate growth in the labor movement. It essentially asks labor leaders to consider what their state and local labor movements would look like ideally if they had the luxury of starting from scratch today. By struggling over this question and connecting the answers to where the labor movement now is, New Alliance hoped to produce a vision for state and local labor movements and a concrete program to build toward this direction.
Source: Jeff Grabelsky, WorkingUSA: The Journal of Labor and Society, Vol. 10 no. 1, March 2007
The labor movement in New York State (NYS) has undergone a dramatic restructuring that is part of a national American Federation of Labor–Congress of Industrial Organizations program called the New Alliance. The purpose of the New Alliance is to build the capacity of local labor movements and to empower unions to help shape a region’s political and economic agenda. The restructuring in NYS led to the consolidation of twenty-five central labor councils into five area labor federations, each of which is developing the resources, staff, and leadership to help grow labor’s regional power across the state. This article describes the origins of the New Alliance, the nature of the restructuring process, the ways in which the capacity of local labor movements are expanding, the programmatic work the restructured central bodies have undertaken in the last five years, and the impact of the national split on local and regional central bodies across NYS.
Source: Jelle Visser, Monthly Labor Review, Vol. 129 no. 1, January 2006
An analysis of “adjusted” union membership data in 24 countries yields past and present union density rates; the data provide explanatory factors for the differences and trends in unionization.
Source: David J. Park and Larry M. Wright, Labor Studies Journal, Vol. 32 no. 1, March 2007
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.