Thursday, March 03, 2011

So, If Employees Are As Unhappy As Studies Show, Why Don't They Do Something About It?

Here’s a question: If employees are as unhappy as studies show, why aren't more of them turning to unions?

Clearly they are not. The Bureau of Labor Statistics finds the following:

In 2010, 11.9% of wage and salary workers were members of a union, down from 12.3% a year earlier. This is a long fall from 1983, not ancient history, when the union membership rate was 20.1%.

Today, union membership looks like this:

Union membership of public sector workers at 36.2% is five times the rate for private sector workers (6.9%)
Workers in education, training, and library occupations had the highest unionization rate: 37.1%
Black workers were more likely to be union members than were white, Asian, or Hispanic workers, and
Emnployees in northern States have a much higher unionization rate than those in the southern States.

Which leads to the question: Why are employees not organizing in larger numbers?

Two explanations often heard are:

Employees are afraid -- make waves and lose your job; and/or

The image of unions is tainted, either as being ineffective or corrupt.

Is it one of these or is it something else? I believe the issue goes deeper, but I'm interested in what you have offer.

Please post your comments by using the link provided.

(Thanks to HR Morning for the query.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jim,
Jeff Hart here...Bob & Sandy's friend in Denver. Any of these statistics are probably not entirely accurate because "a union is not a union". What I mean is that at many public agencies, while they may have a union, they do not all have the same authority. Some only have collective bargaining covering working conditions, and cannot bargain at all over pay or benefits. So it really depends on what the law/regs are in that agency or in that state. They're all different.

12:43 PM  

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