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Moritz College of Law

Labor & Employment Law

Labor & Employment Law

What sectors of the workforce have seen a growth in labor Unions?

James Brudney"In the past 20 years, union numbers have been growing in the public sector while declining in the private sector, especially in the industrial workforce. Today, 37% of federal, state, and local government employees are represented by unions compared with just 7.5% of private sector workers.

The private sector decline reflects certain economic realities — primarily the loss of American jobs in steel, auto, and manufacturing. In addition, changes in the application of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), have made it easier for employers to resist unions. To date, Congress has not updated the NLRA since 1947, and many companies have taken advantage of what the national law permits or does not sufficiently deter. By contrast, public sector jobs have been a growth area for unions — particularly in education, health care, and the provision of human services. In many states, state laws and employer attitudes are more supportive of government employees who wish to organize and engage in collective bargaining.

Recently, there has been a slight uptick in private sector union membership — the first in decades — principally in health care and property management services."

James J. Brudney
Newton D. Baker-Baker & Hostetler Chair in Law


Martha  ChamallasMartha Chamallas
Robert J. Lynn Chair in Law

Sarah Rudolph ColeSarah Rudolph Cole
John W. Bricker Professor of Law; Director, Program on Dispute Resolution

Ruth  ColkerRuth Colker
Distinguished University Professor and Heck Faust Memorial Chair in Constitutional Law

L. Camille  HébertL. Camille Hébert
Carter C. Kissell Professor of Law

Joseph B. StulbergJoseph B. Stulberg
Michael E. Moritz Chair in Alternative Dispute Resolution

Charles E. WilsonCharles E. Wilson
Associate Professor Emeritus of Law