Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Recession? What recession? Unionization up on state, local levels

09.09.2009
Against all odds, organized labor managed to make new inroads during the economic upheaval of the past year, new findings from UCLA's Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE) suggest.

From July 2008 to June 2009, unions netted 24,904 new members in the Southland and 131,206 in California, according to the findings. Union density — which measures the concentration of unionized members in a workforce — also rose, inching up by eight-tenths of a percentage point in the five Southern California counties studied and by one percentage point in the state overall.

"These changes are really substantial," said Lauren Appelbaum, research director of the IRLE and the study's lead author. "The proportion of the workforce that is unionized has increased in the Southland by 5 percent over the past year and 12 percent over the past two years, and in California by 6 percent over the past year and 14 percent over the past two years."

Even on the national level, where actual union membership dipped, last year's gains in union density — the first in decades — held steady or possibly increased slightly.

"Usually with an economic downturn, you see the Michigan story, where unionization gets clobbered," said Chris Tilly, the IRLE's director and a UCLA professor of urban planning, referring to the recession in the early 1980s that decimated the American auto industry. "What we're having in this recession is a different story. Here is a horrific downturn, and the rate of unionization is increasing."

The findings are contained in the IRLE's fifth annual report on the state of organized labor. Based on labor figures in the U.S. Current Population Survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of the Census, "The State of the Unions in 2009" tracks year-to-year changes in unionization in five metropolitan regions in California, the state as a whole and the nation. For the purposes of the study, researchers included Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange, Ventura and San Bernardino counties in the Southland.

This year's detailed analysis and earlier unionization data going back to 2005 are available at http://irle.ucla.edu.

As would be expected in a recession, union membership dropped in manufacturing across the region, state and country, according to the study authors.

"Job losses in manufacturing appear to have led to an absolute decline in the number of union members working, simply because there are fewer people employed in these traditionally unionized jobs," Appelbaum said.

As in the past, women had a higher unionization rate over the past year than men in the Southland and in California. Not surprisingly for a downturn that has been called a "mancession" for the disproportionate toll that it has taken on male workers, union membership and unionization rates for men dropped across the nation.

However, men locally and statewide defied that trend, stepping up their unionization rates and absolute numbers since last summer. Over the past year, male union membership grew almost twice as fast as female membership in the Southland, and four times as fast as female membership in California.

"The high-profile union campaign to organize security officers and the increases among union membership in the construction industry in California and Los Angeles yielded large increases for unions among a largely male workforce," Appelbaum said.

Across the country, the picture for male union membership was not as rosy. Nationwide, the number of male union members fell by 154,362, the IRLE found.

"It's not like men across the country are leaving unions in droves," Appelbaum said. "The recession is eliminating their jobs, just as it's eliminating other jobs, both union and nonunion."

Other highlights:

While unionization remained concentrated in the public sector, Southland and California unions made gains in the private sector, both in terms of absolute numbers and density. Across the nation, however, unions lost ground in the private sector.
While unionization remained concentrated among workers with at least some college education, Southland and California unions made inroads among high school graduates and even among workers with only some high school education.
In construction and in transportation and utilites, unionization increased locally and statewide, but not nationwide.

Union membership in health care dropped in the Southland and the United States, but rose statewide amid prominent unionizing efforts on the part of Service Employees International Union; the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; and the National Union of Healthcare Workers.

The findings are consistent with long-term unionization trends in California and the Southland. For the past four years, unionization rates have steadily climbed in the Southland and California, outpacing the nation, the IRLE has found.

As in the past, the Los Angeles metropolitan area laid claim in 2008 to the largest number of union members in the state, with a total of 1,237,393 members, but it did not boast the highest unionization rate — the Sacramento metropolitan area again held that distinction, followed by the metropolitan areas of San Francisco, Fresno, Los Angeles and San Diego.

Despite the loss in California of 22,200 government jobs over the last year, the public sector continued to enjoy much higher rates of unionization than the private sector, the IRLE found.

The appeal of unionism to workers themselves is easy to understand. In the United States today, average hourly earnings are about $4 more for union workers than non-union workers.

UCLA is California's largest university, with an enrollment of nearly 38,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The UCLA College of Letters and Science and the university's 11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer more than 323 degree programs and majors. UCLA is a national and international leader in the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs. Four alumni and five faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize.

For more news, visit the UCLA Newsroom or follow us on Twitter.

Meg Sullivan | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucla.edu

More articles from Business and Finance:

nachricht Mathematical confirmation: Rewiring financial networks reduces systemic risk
22.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Frugal Innovations: when less is more
19.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

All articles from Business and Finance >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Touch Displays WAY-AX and WAY-DX by WayCon

27.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Drones that drive

27.06.2017 | Information Technology

Ultra-compact phase modulators based on graphene plasmons

27.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>