Public and private sector union membership

public and private sector union membership in New Zealand and abroad

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US union membership in public and private sectors and federal, state and local governments since 1983

Unions are dead on their feet in the private sector in the USA but going strong as ever in the public sector, especially in local government.

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Source: Bureau of Labour Statistics Table 3. Union affiliation of employed wage and salary workers by occupation and industry

Collective bargaining coverage across the OECD, 1990 and 2011

Despite all the hullabaloo, collective bargaining agreement coverage is not declined by that much outside of the English-speaking countries. Outside of the USA, the top 1% are very lazy so they have not benefited from this decline of union power. Within the USA, so few people are covered by collective bargaining agreements for so long that it would not figure in the rising top incomes over the last 30 or more years.

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Source: Economic Policy Reforms 2015: Going for Growth – © OECD 2015 and OECD Employment Outlook 2002.

As for New Zealand, the main difference between 70%  collective bargaining agreement coverage in 1990 and less than 20% collective bargaining coverage in 2011  is real wage growth returned to New Zealand in the early 1990s after 20 years of wage stagnation. The major economic event of the time was the passage of the Employment Contracts Act.

Collective bargaining agreement coverage across the OECD

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Source: OECD Economic Policy Reforms (2015).

British union membership by public and private sector and gender since 1995

British union membership is very much a public sector phenomena. Outside of the public sector, union membership is low but stable for 20 years now.

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Source: Office of National Statistics, Trade Union Membership 2014

Public and private sector union membership in the USA since 1973

Public and private sector union membership took completely different paths in the USA over the last 40 years. Public sector union memberships held its own. There is been a steady decline in union membership in the private sector. The exception is construction unions which held their own in membership for the last 10 years.

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Source: unionstats.com.

Trade union membership, USA, UK, Australia & New Zealand since 1960 @FairnessNZ

Union membership was in a long-term decline in New Zealand before the passage of the hated Employment Contracts Act in 1991. If anything, union membership stopped falling after the passage of that law.

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Source: OECD Stat.

As for the other countries, steady decline in membership has been the trend since 1980. The already low level of union membership in the USA has been in a steady decline since at least 1960.

The Real World Effects Of Unions @FairnessNZ @PeetzDavid

Collective-bargaining agreement coverage and union density rates, major economies, latest available data

In the USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, if you want to be covered by a union collective-bargaining agreement, join a union. Does not seem to matter if you are a union member in France, Germany, Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands and to a lesser extent Italy because you is covered by collective bargaining agreements in most jobs.

Source: OECD estimates and J. Visser, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies (2011), ICTWSS Database on Institutions, Coordination, Trade Unions, Wage Setting and Social Pacts (version 3.0) in OECD (2013) Economic Policy Reforms 2013: Going for Growth.

In the Nordic countries, it runs the other way with most workers covered by collective bargaining agreement but also are union members.

Union density rates in Scandinavia since 1960

Union membership has been very high all the time in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.

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Source: OECD Stat Extract.

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