Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Union Geography?

Does anyone know if union membership has become more or less geographically concentrated in recent decades? With the decline of railroad and mining unions, it would seem likely that unions would have lost greater ground in the South and West. (For example, West Virginia now only has a union membership rate around the national average). On the other hand, the UAW and Steelworkers have taken a big hit, too, and they've always been concentrated in union heartland states like Michigan and Pennsylvania.


dillon said...

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Dorian Warren said...

Great question. My quick hunch is yes, for these reasons:
1) States that historically had strong union density rates also have been where unions doing new organizing the last 30 years (public sector, service sector) have found the most successes. Right-to-work laws in most Southern states probably explain much of this.

2) Unions in states with high density also are more politically powerful, and thus use that political power to negotiate better "right to organize" contracts with states and municipalities.

Anonymous said...

I believe that all USA private industry unions are in decline. The only unions experiencing growth are government workers.