Home > The Economy > Union membership in 21 wealthy countries (2 graphs)

Union membership in 21 wealthy countries (2 graphs)

from David Ruccio

Clearly, unionization rates in the United States and Canada have diverged considerably since 1970. The question is, why?

Kris Warner [pdf] discusses a variety of possible explanations, from structural changes to the economy through the desire for unionization on the part of workers to the failures of organized labor itself. Warner then focuses on a key factor: employer opposition to unions together with relatively weak labor law.

the legal process for unionization and first contract arbitration are perhaps the most important policy differences, and illustrate the vast difference in labor policy between the United States and the country most similar to it. Compared to Canada, many workers in the United States are not able to exercise their right to freely join and form unions and participate in collective bargaining, in large part due to employer opposition, which current labor policy fails to adequately address.


The situation in the United States is even worse when compared to 21 other advanced capitalist countries, especially when taking into account union coverage rates:

  1. paolo leon
    September 10, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Try to see whether there is a correlation between the growth of house mortgages and reduced union membership because I feel there has been a decline in the latter linked to the increase in wealth of the households, which in turn has been transformed in income, making workers less dependent on the unions. The paradox is that all during the ’90s and most of the ’00 wages lost in income distribution, while in full employment.

  2. February 18, 2020 at 2:00 pm

    Hello. Can you please tell me the source of this data? Thank you. Daniel Harrison

    • David F. Ruccio
      February 18, 2020 at 10:01 pm

      The source is in the Warner pdf file I linked to in the post. . .

      • Dr. Daniel M. Harrison
        February 19, 2020 at 7:13 pm


  3. Meta Capitalism
    February 18, 2020 at 10:41 pm

    If you want to see a recent example of how the US under the ideology of market fundamentalism allows a Chinese company to come into the US and open a factory and violate US law to suppress union organizers just watch Netflix’s American Factory or Amazon’s union busting video. The laws are rigged by the rich to take away the rights of workers. Until this changes workers are pretty much at the mercy of the likes of Amazon and big corporate money.

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