Richard B. Freeman and Joni Hersch

in Emerging Labor Market Institutions for the Twenty-First Century

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2005 | ISBN: 9780226261577
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226261812 | DOI:

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In the United States, unionism in the private sector is declining. In the face of this development, labor activists, workers, and nongovernmental organizations have formed diverse non-membership organizations (NMOs) or have altered the operations of member-based labor organizations, such as occupational associations, to perform some of the functions that traditional labor unions undertake on behalf of workers. This book examines the nature of these new labor market institutions, how they operate, how effective they have been in providing services or voice to workers compared to unions, whether they have the breadth and scope to expand in the labor market and substitute at least in part for traditional unions, or whether they are likely to be limited to small niches. Part 1 of the book analyzes the way NMOs operate in assisting workers, Part 2 explores the possibility that a membership organization—either union or non-union—could represent white-collar workers, and Part 3 examines potential opportunities to reinvigorate traditional unionism by considering the roles of non-wage benefits, union-management strategic partnerships, and expanded training opportunities.

Keywords: unionism; United States; private sector; labor unions; non-membership organizations; labor market; non-wage benefits; training; white-collar workers; labor market institutions

Chapter.  4840 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Economics

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