September 1, 2010 | Backgrounder on Labor
Abstract: Unions have been a familiar part of American working life for more than 70 years. Less familiar is the state of the union movement today: More union members now work for the government than for private employers. The above-market salaries and benefits that government employees receive are paid for by taxpayers. So, the union movement that began as a campaign to improve working conditions and salaries for workers in the private sector, now pushes for ever-higher taxes to increase the generous compensation that government employees enjoy. Heritage Foundation labor policy expert James Sherk details the changes in the union movement, and explains how Congress can react to this new reality.
The American union movement has reached a historic milestone—more union members currently work for the government than for private businesses. As a result, the union movement’s priorities have shifted. Because taxes fund government pay and benefits, unions are now pushing for tax increases across the country. The union movement that once campaigned to raise private-sector workers’ wages has transformed into a government union movement that campaigns to raise their taxes.
How did this happen? Union organizing surged after the passage of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) in 1935. But because union contracts raise costs, unionized businesses generally grow more slowly than non-union firms. Market competition has caused union membership to gradually fall in the private sector since the 1950s. The new government unions created in the 1960s could safely demand inflated pay without putting their jobs at risk. Now most union members work for the government.
The early trade unionists did not believe that unions had a place in government. They believed the purpose of unions was to redistribute profits from business owners to workers—and the government makes no profits. The government labor movement has become a powerful special interest lobby to raise taxes on working Americans to raise the level of compensation for government workers. Taxpayers should not have to subsidize this lobbying. Congress should prohibit federal unions from using the federal payroll system to automatically deduct union dues from government employees’ paychecks.
New Government Labor Movement
The American labor movement marked a historic shift in 2009. For the first time in U.S. history, more union members worked for the government than worked in the private sector. The U.S. Postal Service employs three times as many union members as the domestic auto industry. Table 1 shows union membership in the United States in 2009 and through the first seven months of 2010.
Overall union membership dropped again in the first half of 2010: down by 603,000 members to 11.9 percent of all employees. Private-sector and public-sector unions both lost members. Private-sector unions lost 323,000 members, dropping to 7 percent of the private-sector workforce. A smaller proportion of private-sector workers belong to unions now than at any point since the Supreme Court upheld the National Labor Relations Act. Union membership also fell by 281,000 members in government, dropping by 1.7 percent of the government workforce.
However, well over one-third (35.7 percent) of government employees still belong to a union. The 7.6 million union members who work for the government make up 51.7 percent of all union members in the United States. The new face of the union movement is the clerk at the Department of Motor Vehicles, not the worker on the assembly line.
Private-Sector Strikes Rare. As the labor movement’s membership has moved toward government, so have its priorities. Labor unions once focused on improving private-sector working conditions, but now their efforts have shifted toward increasing government pay and benefits.
The frequency of private-sector strikes demonstrates the union movement’s changed priorities. Threatening strikes is the main tool that unions use to win concessions from private employers. Now strikes have become exceedingly rare.
Unions used to launch hundreds of strikes a year—often at considerable cost to the economy. In 2009, unions initiated only five major strikes that involved 1,000 workers or more. The recession does not explain why unions so rarely strike. In 2007, the last year before the recession, unions engaged in just 21 strikes.
New Labor Priority: Political Influence. The union movement’s priorities have shifted from the picket line to politics. Many government unions are prohibited from striking by law, so to raise government pay unions must influence the legislative processes that determine their wages.
The union movement has ample money at its disposal. In states without right-to-work laws, unionized employees must pay union dues or lose their jobs. State and local governments use their payroll systems to collect dues for the union. The government automatically deducts the dues— typically 1 percent to 2 percent of a government employee’s pay—and deposits it in the union’s bank account.
One percent of the pay of several hundred thousand government workers is a lot of money. The New Jersey Education Association has 179,000 active members who each have to pay union dues of $761 every year. That works out to more than $136 million in dues a year. The American Federation of State and County Municipal Employees (AFSCME) national headquarters brought in $193 million in union dues in 2008. AFSCME’s local affiliates raised hundreds of millions more.
The union movement spends much of this money on politics. In election year 2008, AFSCME spent $63 million on political campaigning and lobbying. That was 32 percent of its overall budget and well more than the $39 million it spent representing its members. In 2009, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL–CIO) spent $29 million on representational activities and $47 million on political campaigning and lobbying. The amount spent on politics represented 25 percent of the AFL–CIO’s budget. The AFL–CIO and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) just announced their intention to spend $100 million on electing sympathetic candidates in this year’s midterm elections.
This political spending gives unions considerable political influence. Government unions use this influence to press Congress and state legislatures to raise government salaries and to hire more employees. They have largely succeeded. The average government employee earns more than his counterpart in the private sector.
Government Pays More. The average federal employee earns hourly cash wages 22 percent above what a similar private-sector worker receives. Adding in the value of non-cash benefits raises the federal compensation premium to between 30 percent and 40 percent a year.
Unions have also successfully raised the pay of state and local government employees. While their hourly wages are no higher—and in some cases slightly lower—than those of similar private-sector workers, they make up for it with benefits. Specific benefit packages vary across states, but state and local employees generally have excellent health coverage to which they contribute little. They also receive generous pensions unavailable to most private-sector employees. Many state and local government employees can retire in their 50s with a substantial defined-benefit pension.
In California, state employees can retire at 55 with a pension worth 2 percent of their highest year’s earnings multiplied by their years of service. California highway patrol officers get an even better deal; they can retire at 50 with 3 percent of their final salary multiplied by their years of service. That means that a worker with 30 years of experience can retire in his 50s and enjoy 90 percent of what he earned on the job until he dies. Including the value of these benefits, state and local employees’ total compensation is significantly higher than that of private-sector workers.
Government Job Security. Government unions have won another perk for their members that few workers in the private sector enjoy: extremely high job security. Federal law makes termination of ineffective government employees extremely difficult. Many states have similar civil service codes that make it difficult to fire underperforming government workers. The Chicago Teachers Union, for example, filed a lawsuit after the Chicago public school system responded to budget cuts by laying off teachers with “unsatisfactory” performance ratings. The union insists that all layoffs must occur on the basis of seniority, not performance.
Government employees also have less reason to worry about elimination of their jobs during a recession. Since the start of this current recession in December 2007, private-sector employment has fallen by 6.8 percent. Federal employment, however, has risen by 10 percent while state and local government employment has only fallen slightly. Taxes and deficit spending have kept government payrolls going even as the economy has experienced its worst slump since the Great Depression. Government employees generally experience little of the uncertainty of a recession.
Government Pay Costs Taxpayers. The cost for such generous pay and benefits is great. Paying federal employees’ inflated compensation will cost taxpayers $47 billion in 2011. Nonpartisan estimates indicate that state and local retiree health care and pension plans face a cumulative $3.1 trillion funding shortfall. The money to cover these costs comes from taxes. The more taxes the government collects the more employees it can hire and the more it can pay them. Since most union members work for the government, unions strongly support higher taxes. The federal pay premium alone takes up 5 percent of federal income tax revenues.
Government Unions Campaign for Tax Increases. The union movement now consists primarily of government employees lobbying for more government and higher taxes. An examination of union activity across the country illustrates the union movement’s strong advocacy for tax increases:
Unions consistently press for higher taxes and more government spending across America. The labor movement has made higher taxes and more government spending one of its top priorities. But unions are self-interested advocates of tax increases: They oppose tax increases that significantly affect their members. During the congressional debate over health care reform, for example, the union movement lobbied heavily against taxing high-value health care plans. Union members tend to have generous health coverage, and that tax would fall heavily on them. That is especially true of government union members. The union movement threatened to oppose the entire health care bill unless Congress scaled back that tax increase. Congress did so.
Conflict of Interest. Labor unions’ political activism creates a conflict of interest in government. In the private sector, employer pressure to cut costs balances excessive union wage demands. In the government, unions can use their political influence to elect sympathetic politicians, and then labor and management work together to raise government pay. No one at the bargaining table speaks for the taxpayers.
Departure from Labor’s Roots
This shift to government has brought the union movement far from its historical roots. The 19th-century founders of the U.S. labor movement believed that the profit motive would lead employers to exploit workers. They saw unions as a vehicle to get workers a greater share of the profits that they helped to create. The economic tool they used to do this was the strike.
However, this model does not apply in government. The state does not earn profits that it divides between shareholders and labor. For the same reason, the government has no incentive to pay low wages. A strike by government workers would interrupt vital functions such as police protection and education. Consequently, the founders of the labor movement did not believe the union movement had a place in government and they did not attempt to organize government workers.
Some labor leaders rejected government unions as intrinsically undemocratic. Collective bargaining gives government employees the power to tell voters how to spend their tax dollars instead of the other way around. As recently as 1959, the AFL–CIO Executive Council stated that “government workers have no right [to collectively bargain] beyond the authority to petition Congress—a right available to every citizen.”
Rise of Private-Sector Unions. When Congress passed the National Labor Relations Act in 1935 to encourage collective bargaining, the NLRA did not apply to government employees. Union leaders at the time believed this made perfect sense. As former AFL–CIO president George Meany wrote in 1955, “it is impossible to bargain collectively with the government.” The man who created the AFL–CIO would not recognize today’s union movement.
Only a small portion of workers belonged to unions until Congress passed the NLRA. The act promoted collective bargaining in the private sector by requiring management to bargain with unions as workers’ “exclusive bargaining representative.” Once the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the NLRA in 1937, union membership grew rapidly. By 1947, 24 percent of the labor force belonged to unions.
This gave labor unions great economic power, but they did not always use it responsibly. The United Mine Workers aroused national outrage when they shut down coal production in 1943, harming the war effort. Postwar strikes in the steel, coal, and auto industries paralyzed large portions of the economy. Congressional investigations also uncovered ties between major unions and organized crime.
These actions caused public support for unions to cool, and Congress passed the Taft–Hartley Act in 1947 to address union abuses. When Congress passed the NLRA 12 years earlier, it had not foreseen that some unions would pressure workers into unionizing. Taft–Hartley complemented the NLRA’s protection of the ability to bargain collectively by protecting workers’ rights to choose not to do so. The act established the secret ballot as the normal means of unionizing, gave workers the right to decertify their union, and prohibited many forms of economic pressure that unions applied to workers who did not want to unionize.
Chart 3 shows union membership as a percentage of the labor force from two separate data sets collected by the Department of Labor. Union membership peaked at 26 percent of the labor force in 1953, and has gradually declined since then.
Creation of Government Unions. Wisconsin became the first state to pass a law permitting government employees to collectively bargain in 1959. This followed the decision of New York City’s Mayor Robert Wagner to do the same in 1958. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order 10988 that permitted collective bargaining with federal employees.
Throughout the 1960s and the 1970s, collective bargaining rapidly spread throughout state and local governments. To prevent public-sector strikes, most states established binding arbitration for government unions. These laws vary across states, but under binding arbitration, contract disputes between the government and government unions are decided by an arbitrator who hands down a binding contract.
Competition Eroded Private-Sector Unions. At the same time that unions were rapidly organizing government workers, market competition began undermining unions in the private sector. Unions raise business costs. This, and the fact that unionized companies invest less in capital and research and development, makes unionized firms less competitive. This does not hurt unions if their competitors are unionized or they compete in heavily regulated markets.
But in the 1970s and 1980s, Congress made the U.S. economy much more competitive. Deregulation and free trade forced many unionized firms to compete against more efficient non-union firms. They could not keep up. Non-union businesses charged less than unionized firms and won their customers.
Across the country non-union manufacturing, construction, and trucking companies grew while their unionized competitors shrank. Between 1973 and 1998, non-union jobs grew by roughly 3 percent a year while 3 percent of union jobs disappeared annually. Competitive pressures have steadily shrunk private-sector unions to their current levels: 7 percent of all private-sector workers and 6 percent of the private-sector labor force.
Government Unions Immune to Competition. Competitive forces have not undercut government unions: The government has no competition. It has a monopoly on providing its services. Taxpayers cannot purchase less expensive police or education services from another state without moving there.
Consequently, government unions can negotiate generous benefits without worrying about putting their jobs at risk. Unlike the private sector, governments almost never go bankrupt. They can always raise taxes to cover their costs. So once unions organize a government department, those workers remain organized.
By 1977, a total of 35 states had passed legislation regulating collective bargaining with state employees. That year, 33 percent of government employees belonged to unions, which accounted for 26 percent of all U.S. union members. Since then, government union rates have stayed in the mid to high 30 percent range. Even as private-sector unions have lost members, public-sector unions have grown. In 2009, those paths crossed and now most union members work for the government.
What Congress Should Do
The union movement has transformed over the past generation; it now primarily represents government employees. Three times as many union members now work for the U.S. Postal Service as for the auto industry. The mandatory union dues that the government collects on behalf of its unionized employees raise billions of dollars a year. The union movement spends a substantial amount of this money aggressively advocating higher taxes and increased government spending.
This creates a situation in which both government labor and management have an incentive to promote higher taxes. Congress should take several steps to restore equity between government employees and taxpayers:
Congress should adapt the law to appropriately respond to the reality of the new government union movement. It is the right thing to do.
—James Sherk is Senior Policy Analyst in Labor Economics in the Center for Data Analysis at The Heritage Foundation.
James Sherk, “Majority of Union Members Now Work for the Government,” Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 2773, January 22, 2010, at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/01/Majority-of-Union-Members-Now-Work-for-the-Government#_ftnref6.
 Ibid. The AFL–CIO national headquarters spent $189.5 million in 2009.
Sam Stein, “Major Unions Pooling Resources for $100 Million 2010 Effort,” The Huffington Post, August 25, 2010, at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/25/major-unions-pooling-reso_n_693940.html (August 26, 2010).
James Sherk, “Inflated Federal Pay: How Americans Are Overtaxed to Overpay the Civil Service,” Heritage Foundation Center for Data AnalysisReport No. 10-05, July 7, 2010, at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/07/Inflated-Federal-Pay-How-Americans-Are-Overtaxed-to-Overpay-the-Civil-Service.
California Legislative Analyst’s Office, “State Employee Compensation: The Recently Approved Package,” December 6, 1999, at http://www.lao.ca.gov/1999/120699_employee_comp.html(August 25, 2010).
Andrew Briggs and Jason Richwine, “Those Underpaid Government Workers,” forthcoming in The American Spectator, September 2010, pp. 14–19.
Sherk, “Inflated Federal Pay: How Americans Are Overtaxed to Overpay the Civil Service.”
“Chicago Teachers Challenge Job Cuts in Court,” Associated Press, August 4, 2010.
Sherk, “Inflated Federal Pay: How Americans Are Overtaxed to Overpay the Civil Service.”
Courtney Collins and Andrew Rettenmaier, “Unfunded Liabilities of State and Local Government Employee Retirement Benefit Plans,” National Center for Policy Analysis Policy Report No. 329, July 2010, at http://www.ncpa.org/pdfs/st329.pdf (August 25, 2010).
Heritage Foundation calculations using data from IHS Global Insight, “U.S. Economic Outlook: Government, Table 4, Federal Government Receipts and Expenditures,” May 2010. Global Insight projects that the federal government will collect more than $1 billion in personal current taxes in 2011. The $47 billion federal pay premium in 2011 is 4.5 percent of this figure.
National Institute for Money in State Politics, “Arizona 2010, Ballot Measures: Yes on 100,” at http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/committee.phtml?c=4195(August 25, 2010).
Mary Jo Pitzl, “With Some Vetoes, Budget Finally OK’d,” The Arizona Republic, September 5, 2009, at http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/2009/09/05/20090905azbudget0905.html (August 25, 2010).
Shane Goldmacher, “Teachers’ Union Takes Tax Fight to the November Ballot,” Los Angeles Times, PolitiCal blog, May 12, 2010, at http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/california-politics/2010/05/taxes-no-says-gop-leader-yes-says-teacher-union.html (August 25, 2010).
Dan Smith, “Union Marchers Propose $40 Billion in Tax Hikes, Other Revenue,” The Sacramento Bee, CapitolAlert blog, April 22, 2010, at http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2010/04/union-marchers.html (August 25, 2010).
National Institute for Money in State Politics, “Colorado 2008, Ballot Measures: Savings Account for Education,” at http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/committee.phtml?c=3708 (August 25, 2010).
National Institute for Money in State Politics, “Colorado 2008, Ballot Measures: A Smarter Colorado,” at http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/committee.phtml?c=3697 (August 25, 2010).
Stephen Crockett, “Delaware State Worker Coalition and Allies Fight Massive Pay Cuts: Part 1,” Magic City Morning Star, May 23, 2009, at http://www.magic-city-news.com/Stephen_Crockett_73/Delaware_State_Worker_Coalition_and_Allies_Fight_Massive_Pay_Cuts_Part_1_printer12018.shtml (August 25, 2010).
Marc Valero, “State Teacher’s Union Continues Push for Penny Tax,” Highlands Today, April 6, 2009, at http://www2.highlandstoday.com/content/2009/apr/06/la-state-teachers-union-continues-push-for-penny-t/news (August 25, 2010).
National Institute for Money in State Politics, “Florida 2008, Ballot Measures: Florida is Our Home,” at http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/committee.phtml?c=3454 (August 25, 2010), and “Florida 2008, Ballot Measures: Save our Services,” at http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/committee.phtml?c=3458 (August 25, 2010).
Georgia Association of Educators, “Could Half a Penny Save Public Education in Georgia? The Answer is Yes,” Know, Vol. 8, No. 3 (2010), at http://gae2.org/pdf/KNOW/8.3/feature2.pdf (August 25, 2010).
National Institute for Money in State Politics, “Idaho 2006, Ballot Measures: Invest in Our Kids Education Campaign,” at http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/committee.phtml?c=2130 (August 25, 2010).
American Federation of State and County Municipal Employees, “Fighting to Preserve Public Services, State by State,” February 22, 2010, at http://www.afscme.org/publications/27756.cfm (August 25, 2010), and “HB 174–A Fair Solution to Illinois’ Budget Crisis,” at http://www.afscme31.org/tools/assets/files/HB174AFSCMEFactSheet.pdf (August 25, 2010).
Michelle Manchir and Ray Long, “Thousands of Protesters at Illinois Capitol to Press for Tax Increase,” Chicago Tribune, April 21, 2010, at http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/clout_st/2010/04/thousands-of-protesters-at-illinois-capitol-to-press-for-tax-increase.html(August 25, 2010).
“Chicago Teacher on Tax Hike: ‘Give up the Bucks,’” BigGoverment.com, April 22, 2010, at http://biggovernment.com/publius/2010/04/22/chicago-teacher-on-tax-hike-give-up-the-bucks/ (August 25, 2010).
Mike Flannery, “40,000 Illinois State Workers to Get 14% Payraises,” FOX Chicago News, July 7, 2010, at http:// www.myfoxchicago.com/dpp/news/metro/illinois-state-workers-payraises-20100706 (August 25, 2010).
Mike Glover “Iowa Gov., Union Reach Deal to Save Jobs,” Associated Press, November 9, 2009, at http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=9037086 (August 25, 2010).
Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices, “PAC Summary, Citizens United for Maine’s Future,” at http://www.mainecampaignfinance.com/public/entity_summary.asp?TYPE=PAC&ID=4499&LIMIT=&YEAR=2009 (August 25, 2010).
Matthew Stone, “Union Again Calls for Tax Increase,” Kennebec Journal, March 10, 2010, at http://www.kjonline.com/news/teachers_-union-again-calls-for-tax-hike_2010-03-09.html (August 25, 2010).
American Federation of State and County Municipal Employees, “Fighting to Preserve Public Services State by State.”
Press release, “AFSCME Endorses Debbie White to Challenge Incumbent Rep. Pelowski,” AFSCME Council 5, December 16, 2009, at http://afscmemn.org/sites/afscmemn.org/files/AFSCME%20endorses%20Debbie%20White12-16-09.pdf (August 25, 2010).
Press release, “AFSCME Offers a Better Budget Fix,” AFSCME Council 5, December 2, 2009, at http://afscmemn.org/sites/afscmemn.org/files/budget%20forecast%2012-02-09.pdf (August 25, 2010).
 Ibid., and Eric Feaver, “Our Point of View: 10 Years After,” MEA–MFT, January/February 2010, at http://www.mea-mft.org/our_point_of_view/jan-feb_2010.aspx (August 26, 2010).
MEA–MFT, “2009 MEA-MFT Legislative Voting Record: HB 388,” March 4, 2009, at http://www.mea-mft.org/Uploads/files/News%20Issues%20Actions/State%20Issues/newvoterecord.pdf (August 26, 2010).
 Ibid., and MEA–MFT, “State Pay Plan (HB 13) Passes,” March 11, 2010, at http://www.mea-mft.org/news_issues_action/state_issues/montana_legislature/mea-mfts_2009_priority_bills/hb_13.aspx (August 26, 2010).
National Institute for Money in State Politics, “Nebraska 2006, Ballot Measures: Nebraskans Against 423,” at http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/committee.phtml?c=1890 (August 25, 2010).
Winnie Hu, “New Jersey Schools Brace for Governor’s Next Round of Cuts,” The New York Times, March 14, 2010, at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/15/education/15budget.html(August 25, 2010).
“NJ Public Employees Reject Raising Dues for Anti-Christie Ads,” Associated Press, August 5, 2010, at http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local-beat/NJ-Public-Employees-Reject-Raising-Dues-for-Anti-Christie-Ad-100022859.html(August 25, 2010).
“Lawmakers Asked to Raise Taxes to Fix NM Budget,” Associated Press, August 14, 2009, at http://www.thestreet.com/story/10576153/2/lawmakers-asked-to-raise-taxes-to-fix-nm-budget.html (August 25, 2010).
“New Mexico Lawmakers OK Tax Increases,” Santa Fe New Mexican, March 3, 2010, at http://www.santafenewmexican.com/LocalNews/Lawmakers-OK-tax-increases (August 25, 2010).
Brendan Scott, “Unions Inflicting Labor Pain on Gov,” The New York Post, February 9, 2009, at http://www.allbusiness.com/government/government-bodies-offices-heads-state/12030169-1.html (August 25, 2010).
Jacob Gershman, “High Earners Face Tax Increase,” The Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2010, at http://online.wsj.com/article/NA_WSJ_PUB:SB10001424052748704103904575337470930829804.html (August 25, 2010).
Michael Grynbaum, “$239,000 Conductor Among M.T.A.’s 8,000 Six-Figure Workers,” The New York Times, June 2, 2010, at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/03/nyregion/03mta.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss (August 25, 2010).
National Institute for Money in State Politics, “North Dakota, 2008 Ballot Measures: Partners to Protect North Dakota’s Future,” at http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/committee.phtml?c=3380 (August 25, 2010).
“Union Ad: Ohio Budget Cuts Will Put Public at Risk,” Dayton Daily News, October 13, 2009, at http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/ohio-news/union-ad-ohio-budget-cuts-will-put-public-at-risk-345347.html (August 25, 2010).
Patrick B. McGuigan, “Fallin Focuses on State Budget, Announces Gov. Pawlenty’s Endorsement,” CapitolBeatOK, June 22, 2010, at http://capitolbeatok.com/CustomContentRetrieve.aspx?ID=3147024 (August 25, 2010).
National Institute for Money in State Politics, “Oregon 2010, Ballot Measures: Vote Yes for Oregon,” at http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/committee.phtml?c=4030 (August 25, 2010).
Jeff Mapes, “Tax Measures Have Passed, Vindicating Legislative Democrats and Their Union Allies,” The Oregonian, January 26, 2010, athttp://blog.oregonlive.com/mapesonpolitics/2010/01/tax_measures_have_passed_vindi.html (August 25, 2010).
John Gramlich, “Oregon Tax Hikes Don’t Stop Revenue Bleeding,” Stateline.org, August 11, 2010, at http://www.stateline.org/live/details/story?contentId=504843 (August 25, 2010).
CLEAR Coalition, “About CLEAR,” July 21, 2010, at http://www.clearforpa.org/index.cfm?zone=/unionactive/view_page.cfm&page=CLEAR20Coaltion (August 25, 2010).
Rachel Culbertson, “Origins of the Industrial-Age Labor Model,” in Sweeping the Shop Floor: A New Labor Model for America, Evergreen Freedom Foundation, 2010, p. 2, at http://www.effwa.org/files/pdf/SWEEPINGTHESHOPFLOOR.pdf (August 25, 2010). Whether unions achieve these goals is debatable, but they are the goals that men like Samuel Gompers, the first president of the American Federation of Labor, pursued.
Leo Kramer, Labor’s Paradox: The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL–CIO (New York: Wiley, 1962), p. 41.
See Chart 3.
For example, union-shop provisions in contracts and secondary boycotts of non-union workforces. The act also gave states the ability to pass right-to-work laws.
Note: Chart 3 displays union membership as a percent of the labor force, which includes both the employed and unemployed. This is somewhat smaller than the traditional union membership rate in Table 1, which shows union membership as a percentage of all employed workers. For example, in 2010 unions made up 9.6 percent of the labor force (as shown in Chart 3) but 12 percent of employed workers.
David Denholm, “Are Labor Unions a Good Thing?” in Sweeping the Shop Floor: A New Labor Model for America, Evergreen Freedom Foundation, 2010, p. 50, at http://www.effwa.org/files/pdf/SWEEPINGTHESHOPFLOOR.pdf (August 25, 2010).
Barry T. Hirsch, “Union Coverage and Profitability Among U.S. Firms,” The Review of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 73, No. 1 (February 1991), pp. 69–77; Stephen G. Bronars, Donald R. Deere, and Joseph S. Tracy, “The Effects of Unions on Firm Behavior: An Empirical Analysis Using Firm-Level Data,” Industrial Relations, Vol. 33, No. 4 (October 1994), pp. 426–451.
Robert Connolly, Barry T. Hirsch, and Mark Hirschey, “Union Rent Seeking, Intangible Capital, and Market Value of the Firm,” Review of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 68, No. 4 (November 1986), pp. 567–577; Bronars, Deere, and Tracy, “The Effects of Unions on Firm Behavior”; Stephen G. Bronars and Donald R. Deere, “Unionization, Incomplete Contracting, and Capital Investment,” Journal of Business, Vol. 66, No. 1 (January 1993), pp. 117–132; and Barry T. Hirsch, “Firm Investment Behavior and Collective Bargaining Strategy,” Industrial Relations, Vol. 31, No. 1 (Winter 1992), pp. 95–121.
Myron Lieberman, Public Sector Bargaining: A Policy Reappraisal (Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books, 1980), Table 1.4.
Barry T. Hirsch and David A. Macpherson, “Union Membership and Coverage Database from the Current Population Survey,” Unionstats.com, “Table 1: All Public Sector Workers,” at http://www.unionstats.com (August 25, 2010).
Sherk, “Inflated Federal Pay: How Americans Are Overtaxed to Overpay the Civil Service.”