When do U.S. workers first experience unionization? Implications for revitalizing the labor movement

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Abstract

Debates over revitalizing the U.S. labor movement often overlook when workers are first unionized. This article analyzes the frequency and nature of workers' first unionized jobs by tracking a cohort of individuals from age 15/16 to 40/41. Though workers are most likely to be unionized when they are in their forties, this article shows that surprising numbers of individuals first encounter unionization in their jobs at a much younger age. These results highlight the importance of experiential union membership models as well as life-cycle union representation strategies that recognize the young age at which many workers are first unionized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-225
Number of pages17
JournalIndustrial Relations
Volume49
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010

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