Reconstructing Construction Unionism: Beyond Top Down and Bottom Up
20 Pages Posted: 22 May 2008
Date Written: 2008
The decline of the U.S. labor movement is an often told tale. The stabilization and slow improvement of the position of the building trades, the labor movement in the construction sector, is less well known. Membership fell from the mid-1970s to the late 1990s, from 1.6 million in 1977 to 906,000 1992. Membership rose to 1.305 million in 2001 during a construction boom, declined as low as 1.110 million and, as a new boom in commercial and industrial construction commences, has risen to 1.232 million in 2007. Given current projections for energy, petrochemical, and public works construction, and the consequent demand for trades workers, construction union membership will be constrained mostly by their ability to bring new workers into their apprenticeship programs over the next four years.
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