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.
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!
Mathematical confirmation: Rewiring financial networks reduces systemic risk
22.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Frugal Innovations: when less is more
19.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
21.08.2017 | Medical Engineering
21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
21.08.2017 | Life Sciences