Chapter Learning Objectives

  • Understand how unions are organized in the United States.
  • Recognize the trends In U.S. union-density rates over the past 70 years or so, and be able to explain why the 20th century is aptly characterized by the rise and fall of the private-sector trade-union movement.
  • Have some familiarity with the major changes in U.S. labor law that have directly impacted the trade-union movement.
  • Understand the workings of the basic supply-demand model that economists use to explain changes in trade-union membership rates and be able to use the framework yourself to explain the patterns observed in the U.S. data.
  • Recognize that formidable econometric difficulties compromise the (seemingly straightforward) task of measuring the causal impact of trade-unions on earnings.