Elimination or Prevention of Unions

The only way for workers to offset in any way the power imbalance between owners and workers is to unionize to pursue collective bargaining. Otherwise, workers operate as individuals without aggregate power when disputes arise with the employer about work conditions.

As we write this, only 7.2 percent of private sector civilian workers in the United States belong to a union. When public sector employees are included, the total unionization rate is approximately 12 percent. Union density was highest in the United States in 1945, when 36 percent of workers were in unions. Membership rates declined from 1983 to 2008, the numbers are the lowest since the 1940s. The United States has the lowest rate among the rich countries: Finland and Sweden, both above 70 percent; Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and Greenland, all above 60 percent; Ireland, 32 percent; Canada, 28 percent; United Kingdom, 27 percent; Germany, 20 percent; Japan, 18 percent; and Korea, 10 percent. All of the nations except those in Scandinavia are shrinking the proportion of workers who are unionized. Workforce reductions in response to the Great Global Recession of 2008 among governments are diminishing unions. Privatization and outsourcing of public services also cut the size of unions.

The most famous private sector corporation to fight unionization is also the world's largest, with 2.1 million employees—Wal-Mart a store. An American management memo about the corporation's opposition ...

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