The Real Reason for the Decline of American Unions
Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its annual summary of unionization in the U.S. It reports that in 2012, the union-membership rate of wage and salary workers was 11.3 percent, compared with 11.8 percent in 2011. The trend has been downward for some time: Fifty years ago, the figure was almost 30 percent.
Itís conventional wisdom that the post-industrial workforce doesnít want to be unionized. But survey data show that workersí desire to join unions has been growing since the 1980s, and a majority of nonunion workers would now vote for union representation if given the opportunity. So if workers want unions, why is unionization falling?
Canada has gone through many of the same economic and social changes as the U.S. since the middle of the 20th century, yet it hasnít seen the same precipitous decline in unionization. The unionization rate in the U.S. and Canada followed fairly similar paths from 1920 to the mid-1960s, at which point they began to diverge drastically.
Differences in labor law and public policy are at the root of this disparity. >>>
The article continues to explain some reasons that Canada is more hospitable to Unions:
- Bans on temporary and permanent replacement of strikers
- Lack of anything resembling "right to work" for less laws.
- Card check. Making it much easier to unionize.
- Labor charges handled quickly - leading to less coercion and intimidation by companies.
- First contract arbitration