Collective Bargaining Remains the Linchpin of Worker Representation (Impact Brief #29)

TitleCollective Bargaining Remains the Linchpin of Worker Representation (Impact Brief #29)
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsGivan, Rebecca Kolins
InstitutionSchool of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University
CityIthaca, NY
Keywordscollective bargaining, union density, unionization, wage inequality

[Excerpt] The decline in union density and collective bargaining coverage has created a representation gap that civil society organizations only partially bridge. Their offer of mutual insurance and political and legal advocacy on issues of concern to workers is no substitute for collective bargaining, a function that resides entirely within the union portfolio. Growing wage inequality is the clearest indication that representation without bargaining provides workers little protection against the power of employers and “the state.” Alliances between unions and civil society organizations may help labor reach potential members and advance workers’ non-bargaining interests.