In the past two decades unions have fallen upon hard times. Although the total labor force has been increasing since 1970, the number of union members in 1988 (17 million) (Bauman 1989, p. 4) is below the 1970 level of 21.4 million (Kovach 1985, p. 850). The percentage of the work force in labor unions has fallen from a high of 42 percent in 1954 (Carrel 1989, p. 545) to 16.8 percent in 1988 (Bauman 1989, p. 4). Furthermore, the percentage of workers belonging to unions is expected to decline to 10 percent by 1995 (Taylor, 1989, p. 31). Several factors have contributed to the decline of labor unions. They include the shift from blue-collar industry dominance to white collar service industry dominance; increased foreign competition; the increased number and percentage of women and minorities in the work force; increased government and management power over unions; and the decreased effectiveness of union leadership. As a result of these factors, union membership has fallen and the economic power and political influence of organized labor has been drastically reduced.
© 1990 by the Board of Student Publications, University of Northern Iowa
"Labor Unions: A Part of Our Past or Future?,"
Draftings In: Vol. 5
, Article 4.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/draftings/vol5/iss2/4