Organized labor has suffered sharp declines in recent years. So where does this leave the labor movement? And how do New York City and State compare to the nation as a whole?
Murphy Professors Ruth Milkman and Stephanie Luce have released a new report that addresses these questions. State of the Unions 2017: A Profile of Organized Labor in New York City, New York State and the United States looks at how union density has changed nationally and locally across demographics and industries over the past decades, and assesses the challenges and prospects that the labor movement faces now and in the coming years.
Explore this invaluable and accessible report here.
On the occasion of Labor Day this year, New York City received some welcome news courtesy of “The State of the Unions 2016,” the latest report from Murphy Professors Ruth Milkman and Stephanie Luce. Amid declining rates of unionization nationwide, the Big Apple remains strong, with over 25% of workers unionized.
According to the report, entitled “The State of the Unions,” NYC’s unionization rate has increased steadily over the past three years, from 21.5% in 2012 up to 25.5% last year.
From the New York Times:
About 70 percent of public-sector workers in the city and the state are union members, compared with just 19 percent of private-sector workers in the city and 13 percent in the rest of the state. Still, both of those rates are much higher than those of the nation, where less than 7 percent of private-sector workers — or about one in 15 — belong to unions.
All told, there are about 901,000 unionized workers living in New York City, slightly less than half the state’s total of 1.99 million. Only California has more — about 2.5 million in 2015, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. But that total amounted to only about one in six workers in California, compared with slightly less than one in four in New York State.
Read more at the NYTimes or see the full report here.
Photo by MTA Photos via flickr (CC-BY)
In August 2015, Murphy Institute Prof. Ruth Milkman became President of the American Sociological Association (ASA). This month’s ASA footnotes features a profile of Prof. Milkman by Sarah Jaffe.
Jaffe begins by highlighting Milkman’s commitment to “doing research that speaks to the issues of the day,” explaining:
That mindset has led her to crisscross the country, from the East Coast to California and back again, to dig into historical archives to uncover the struggles of women workers during the Great Depression, to hang out in factories with autoworkers trying to save an industry being dismantled, to follow immigrant janitors as they disrupted an entire city, and to trace the beginnings of the Occupy Wall Street uprising. Continue reading Ruth Milkman: 2016 President of ASA
Pacific Standard is working on a special project in which experts and activists weigh in on the future of work. In a recent entry (The Future of Work: The Forces Against Organized Labor, Oct 1, 2015), Murphy Prof. Ruth Milkman outlines the forces producing the decline in unionization in the United States. She writes:
Contrary to popular belief, de-unionization is not primarily due to globalization or new technology: Successful attacks on organized labor have affected many place-bound low-tech industries, like construction or hospitality, nearly as much as manufacturing. The primary driver of labor’s decline is the growing power of corporate employers who are fiercely determined to weaken unions where they already exist and to prevent their emergence elsewhere. That determination is reinforced by the ideology of market fundamentalism, for which both unionism itself and governmental protection of the right to organize are anathema. Continue reading De-Unionization & the Future of Work
The latest report from Murphy Professors Ruth Milkman and Stephanie Luce, The State of the Unions: A Profile of Organized Labor in New York City, New York State, and the United States, continues to gain coverage, this time over at Al Jazeera. In an article by Murphy alum Ned Resnikoff (Unionization found to reduce pay discrimination, Al Jazeera, 9/7/15), the writer outlines some findings from the report:
The earnings gap between black and nonblack workers is smaller among union members than among members of the labor force as a whole, according to a report issued Friday from the City University of New York’s Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies.
The report found that unionized black workers make a median $21.62 per hour, roughly 10 percent less than unionized nonblack workers’ $24.04 hourly wage. Nonunion black workers earned a median $13.65 per hour, compared with nonunion nonblack workers’ $17.00 — a nearly 20 percent pay disadvantage. Continue reading Al Jazeera on Unionization, Pay Discrimination
In “Millennials May Turn the Tide Toward Unionization,” featured in yesterday’s New York Times, Murphy Professor Ruth Milkman offers tempered optimism about Gawker Media staffers’ recent unionization and the potential for new labor organizing campaigns:
“…in the “new economy,” young workers are less likely to be unionized than their older counterparts. But that doesn’t seem to reflect workers’ own preferences. In fact recent surveys show that millennials — the dominant demographic at Gawker and other digital media companies — are far more often pro-union than their baby boomer counterparts.”
“To make a real difference in today’s economy, unions need to meet the needs of young, college-educated workers like those at Gawker as well as workers struggling at the bottom of the labor market, in industries like fast-food and retail. As inequality between the haves and have-nots continues to widen, organized labor is the one surviving institution that systematically pushes in the other direction.”
For the full column, visit the New York Times.