09 Why US Labor is Weak (Jan 28)

09 Why US Labor is Weak (Jan 28) - WHY IS THE US LABOR...

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WHY IS THE US LABOR MOVEMENT WEAK? US Labor Market a. Historically, US had labor scarcity. thus bargaining power of all labor suppliers relatively high; “closing of west” creates more “normal” situation 2.What is a labor union? a. Organization of suppliers of labor: by skill (“craft”), product (industrial) i. Skilled v. unskilled ii. Local v. national labor mkt iii. Small v. large membership b. Monopolizes supply of labor in order to raise price, where P=W+NWbenefits c. Trade off: Maximize price of labor v. maximize membership (employment)
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3.How to realize objectives? a. Eco action: influence employers (wages, work conditions, hiring/firing, etc.); gains limited to those in union b. Pol action: influence gov’t policy (right to strike, minimum wage, encourage workers to unionize, pursue full employmt policies, redistribute income, etc.). Affects all. c. Use of eco power: f (market power)— reflects situation of employer and ability of union to control supply of labor; scarce labor in stronger position d.Use of pol power: f (voting power)—reflects ability to mobilize electorate; unions with large membership at advantage 4.Applied to US a. Pre-New Deal: “business unionism” based on eco power; AFL a highly decentralized federation of craft unions; mainly skilled ; anti-government eco intervention; no ties to political parties (nonpartisan position);
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individual unions able to win concessions from individual employers b. Why: Not because broad based political
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This note was uploaded on 04/18/2011 for the course POLI 126AA taught by Professor Ellencomisso during the Spring '11 term at UCSD.

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09 Why US Labor is Weak (Jan 28) - WHY IS THE US LABOR...

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