Unions Essay

1355 words - 6 pages

“Labor unions once represented a significant share of the U.S. labor force, peaking at almost 35 percent of workers in 1954. Today, less than 12 percent of the labor force is unionized (Vachon 239).” There are two different types of unions; the private sector and the public sector. The public sector unions consist of government jobs: teachers, postal workers, police officers, etc. The private sector is comprised of businesses owned by the individuals. The unions in the private sector were created as a result of the terrible conditions of the industrial revolution. They had begun to organize for better working conditions, higher salaries, employee benefit, and stable work hours. However, unions were created in a time where there were no laws to protect the people from corrupt employers, but today, thanks to the unions, laws have been put into place to help workers from being exploited. “Currently, the unionization rate nationwide is about 35.9 percent in the public sector compared to just 6.6 percent in the private sector (Vachon 230).”The need of unions is no longer as necessary today as it was in previous decades, and the contributing factors to the decline of unions are globalization and labor market transformation.
The causes for the decline in unionization have to do with multiple factors within globalization—global capital, foreign direct investment, exports, and immigration. Global capital refers to large transnational corporation (TNCs) which are also associated with Fortune 1000 firms. As stated by Vachon and Wallace, “This elite group of firms accounted for less than 0.02 percent of all U.S. corporations but 35.6 percent of corporate sales, 37.5 percent of corporate assets, and 46.8 percent of corporate profits (Vachon 231).” Today, TNCs have begun manufacturing parts of its products in foreign countries to reduce costs. This has eliminated many production jobs in the United State, and, due to the decrease in jobs, it has decreased the likelihood employees would form a union. They also offered an incentive-based pay structure and encouraged state and local governments to approve neoliberal strategies of reducing taxes which would result in a significant decrease in the unions in both the private and public sector. Another factor that has harmed the growth of unions is foreign direct investment (FDI). These are majority-owned foreign companies in the United States. FDI tended to oppose unions, and they resulted in an increase in the rate of union decline in the 90s and continue to harm unionization today. Exports have increased foreign competition within the United States, and they have resulted in a division of labor between different countries. This has eliminated the idea that a product should be constructed from start to finish domestically before being exported. This has also decreased unionization within a corporation because the employer can easily relocate. Lastly, immigration’s influence on unionization can be categorized as...

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