"What Unions No Longer Do" sets a new standard for research on the economic, social, and political consequences of the dramatic decline of American unions. Deeply researched, analytically sophisticated, and engagingly written, this is the book to read if you want to understand what unions used to do to lessen inequality and empower workers--and what our nation has lost as their strength has waned.--Jacob S. Hacker, coauthor of "Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer--And Turned Its Back on the Middle Class"
From workers' wages to presidential elections, labor unions once exerted tremendous clout in American life. In the immediate post-World War II era, one in three workers belonged to a union. The fraction now is close to one in five, and just one in ten in the private sector. The only thing big about Big Labor today is the scope of its problems. While many studies have explained the causes of this decline, What Unions No Longer Do
shows the broad repercussions of labor's collapse for the American economy and polity.
Organized labor was not just a minor player during the middle decades of the twentieth century, Jake Rosenfeld asserts. For generations it was the core institution fighting for economic and political equality in the United States. Unions leveraged their bargaining power to deliver benefits to workers while shaping cultural understandings of fairness in the workplace. What Unions No Longer Do
details the consequences of labor's decline, including poorer working conditions, less economic assimilation for immigrants, and wage stagnation among African-Americans. In short, unions are no longer instrumental in combating inequality in our economy and our politics, resulting in a sharp decline in the prospects of American workers and their families.