The Decline in Union Membership Term Paper

The Decline in Union Membership
An explanation of why union membership in the U.S. has declined and how this has impacted on the state of Hawaii.
# 147355 | 3,220 words | 8 sources | APA | 2011 | US
Published on Mar 24, 2011 in Economics (Labor) , Labor Studies (General)

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This paper discusses the steady decline of union membership in the U.S. and the unintended implications for the state of Hawaii that are brought about by this decline. The researcher discusses reasons for the decline of unions after a peak in membership in 1954, listing the reasons for decline. Some of the unintended implications for the state of Hawaii that are discussed include, wage inequality, homelessness, unemployment, illegal immigrant workers, a market for cheap labor, and a shift from local money in the economy to foreign and out of state money from the rich.

From the Paper:

''There were several labor law acts that were passed between 1935 and 1959 that changed not only the power of unions, but the membership and distribution of unions forever (Fossum, 2009). After the Labor Relations Act (originally passed as Wagner Act, amended by Taft Hartley and Landrum-Griffin Acts), organized labor unions experienced growing popularity and began to exercise their rights to collectively bargain and take part in strikes (Fossum, 2009)(Lee, & Mowry, 2007). The National Labor Relations Act, which became law in 1935, was aimed at supporting prices and stimulating recovery from the Great Depression (Lee & Mowry, 2007). Union membership increased steadily until 1954, which peaked, when 28.3 percent of the entire U.S. workforce was unionized (Lee & Mowry, 2007). Since that peak, union membership has declined, and as of 2006, stands at an all time low of 12 percent (Lee & Mowry, 2007).
''According to John A. Fossum, author of Labor Relations, over the past two decades, there has been a large downward shift in the proportion of employees represented by unions. It is not just that union membership is growing more slowly than overall job growth; the number of union members has actually been declining (Lee & Mowry, 2007). During the 1983-2006 period, employment grew by almost 40 million, while union membership declined by 8 percent (Fossum, 2009). Some economists, as well as Fossum, attribute the decline in union membership to the shift away from heavily industrialized professions such as manufacturing in the auto, paper, and steel industries (Fossum, 2009) (Lee & Mowry, 2007).''

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Erlich, Mark. (December 2, 1010) Holding the Union Together When the Economy is Coming Apart. Dissent, (Winter 2011). Retrieved from
  • Fossum, J.A. (2009). Labor Relations. Boston, Ma: McGraw-Hill.
  • Hunter, R. P. (August 24, 1999). Michigan Labor Law: What Every citizen Should Know. Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Retrieved from
  • Lee, Y., & Mowry, B. (November 9, 2007). Union Membership. Economic Trends .Retrieved from
  • Marley, P. (March 10, 2011). Maneuver Ignites Serious Protests. JS Online. Retrieved from

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

The Decline in Union Membership (2011, March 24) Retrieved September 29, 2023, from

MLA Format

"The Decline in Union Membership" 24 March 2011. Web. 29 September. 2023. <>